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Who trusts and who doesn't?

Much has been written about the damage wrought on trust by the economic downturn and associated scandals. But some interesting insights into who is trusting and who isn't have emerged in a recent report from the CIPD.

The research found that employees under 35, those with higher qualifications, and those who had only recently started with their current employer, were much more likely to trust their managers than other groups.

The size of organisation was another clear trust differentiator. Employees in small organisations were much more likely to trust their leaders than those in large ones. It was suggested that the intimacy of the smaller workplace tends to allow much closer personal contact between employees and leaders than in bigger organisations.

Greater personal contact, it went on, may also explain why senior managers are more likely to trust their leaders than those in more junior positions. All of which is a reminder how important it is for leaders to be visible and communicate with all sections of the workforce.

Disengaged and dissatisfied employees were 'most noticeably' distrusting of their senior management.

Where do organisations go wrong? The report said that many of the biggest trust wreckers have originated in the mismatch between an organisation's culture and its behaviour and values; it said such shortcomings were ultimately the responsibility of senior leaders.

Lack of communication and failure to involve staff in decision-making can also be very damaging.

Acas can help you improve your organisation's levels of trust. The Employment Relations Comment piece pdf icon Placing Trust in Employee Engagement [120kb] puts forward simple practical steps that organisations can take to build or rebuild trust. Acas also offers training courses aimed at bolstering trust and engagement, such as Skills for supervisors and those listed under Staff retention.

Acas can visit your organisation and help you review the effectiveness of your communication and consultation systems, including any existing representative group or committee, and help you establish or facilitate new ones; go to Representation at work: how Acas can help for more information.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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