Employee Trust. Yeah, Not so Much.

I read a press release this week. Evidently, a new Maritz® Poll conducted by Maritz Research, found that despite a slight improvement in business conditions, the American workforce remains less engaged with their employers than they did a year ago. They discovered:

·         25 percent of employees report having less trust in management than they did last year.

·         Just 10 percent of employees trust management to make the right decision in times of uncertainty.

·         Only 12 percent of employees believe their employer genuinely listens to and cares about its employees.

My first reaction: “Duh.” My next reaction: “Duh.” My Next reaction: “Man, that really sucks.” Seriously, WTF is up with that? Have we really come to this? If this survey holds any water, we’re all screwed. What a toxic environment – we spend most of our day with a bunch of people who think we’re incompetent, heartless, dishonest sons-of-bitches. Yeah, sign me up for that. All of this leads me to believe that there are really only three ways to look at this.

  1. Management cannot in fact be trusted and they really don’t care, or
  2. Management can be trusted and management does care, but they really suck at showing it, or
  3. It doesn’t really matter whether Management can be trusted or whether they care because employees (and humans) are generally skeptical, wary, and grumpy.

The pessimist in me says it’s #1. The optimist in me says it’s #2. The realist in me says it’s #3. It’s just the way it is, folks. All we can really do is try. We can communicate, we can share, we can strive to say all the right things. But we’ll fall short time and again. Employees are a damn hard breed to please…always have been, always will be. Deep down, they don’t really want to trust us and they really can’t think we care – doing so would make them far too vulnerable. Sure, there are some things you can do to weaken this inherent barrier – maybe we can move these survey results from 10% to 20%. But I’m betting that’s really as far as that needle is going to move.

 

The sooner we come to terms with this, the sooner we (HR) can go about focusing on the things we can actually control and influence.

 

Image Credit: NickHall (c/o Compfight)

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