Trust is one of those workplace components that we can see and feel but have difficulty measuring. It can take months or years to build but can be destroyed in seconds. In a recent survey from EY, they talked to 9,800 full-time workers around the world about trust in the workplace.
What did they find? Less than half (46%) place a "great deal of trust" in their employers. While 15% said they have "very little" or "no trust at all." That leaves 39% in the middle. That's a big group of employees who are wavering on trust.
Among those 15% who don't trust their employer, they listed five reasons:
- Employee compensation isn't fair
- Employer doesn't provide equal opportunity for pay and promotion
- A lack of strong leadership
- Too much employee turnover
- A lack of collaboration
While communicators hands might be tied on a few of those, they can have a positive impact on improving the visibility of leadership and collaboration opportunities. But when it comes to promoting trust, internal communicators can leverage their skills.
The leading aspects in promoting trust are:
- Delivers on promises
- Provides job security
- Provides fair compensation and good benefits
- Communicates openly and transparently
And it's the last one that should ring home with communicators. You have a direct opportunity and, some might say, responsibility to promote open communication. Transparency is relative but I believe what employees are really searching for is honesty in communication.
Other interesting items in the study:
Americans are more likely to "place a great deal of trust" in their boss (50%) than their company (38%). China, Germany and the UK have the highest level of trust in their employers.
When it comes to generational differences, it's not the beloved millennials who are lacking in trust. It's Generation X. Only 41% of that generation responded they had a great deal of trust in their company.
If you'd like to listen to a conversation on trust in the workplace, check out this episode of ICology with Nick Howard from Edelman. We discussed their 2016 Trust Barometer.