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Corporate scandals are eroding trust in senior leaders and will have a damaging impact on employee engagement, the CIPD has warned.
Only 36 per cent of workers trust their top leaders, while 58 per cent of employees display signs of a ‘not bothered’ attitude to their job, according the institute’s latest Employee Outlook report.
The quarterly survey of 2,000 UK employees found that only four in ten respondents were satisfied with the opportunities available to pass their ideas and feedback to senior management. Just one-quarter of employees felt that they were consulted by bosses about the key issues which affected their organisation.
But those who did trust their leaders were more likely to be content with their well-being and less likely to report being under stress, the survey showed.
The 58 per cent of staff with a ‘neutral engagement’ level were also half as likely to ‘go the extra mile’ with their workload and hours compared to those who were positively engaged, and nearly three times more likely to be looking for a new job.
Recent corporate scandals are having a direct effect on employee engagement and trust levels, warned the CIPD’s chief executive Peter Cheese.
“Given the number of examples reported in the media in recent months of unethical behaviours and corrosive cultures overseen by senior leaders, it is perhaps unsurprising to see trust in the workplace eroding,” he explained.
“What’s worrying is the impact this will have on engagement. We know that strong employee engagement drives higher productivity and better business outcomes, so such a prominent display of ‘neutral engagement’ in the workplace should act as a real wake up call for employers.
Cheese added that organisations needed to place closer attention to the effect that leadership behaviours were having on the wider workforce.
“The HR profession is uniquely positioned to help organisations properly understand existing cultures and behaviours,” he continued, “to re-examine and re-define corporate values and to revisit the way in which those values are reinforced, incentivised and rewarded through the day-to-day behaviours by managers - from the very top down to the front line.”
Building employee engagement and trust in senior leaders required a move away from traditional command and control styles of leadership to a distributed leadership model, he added.
True Fiona. Sadly, this is evolving into a vicious circle: Management's realization of the symptoms of low engagement leads to the applicaton of greater control, which leads to ......
Fiona - I could not agree with you more. I get this regular and very familiar feeling of "deja-vu" in our HR community on this subject, and wonder how aligned we are ourselves with the results of the report, or is still a case of the blind leading the blind?<br/><br/>I'm writing a book on the subject and must say that I'm even more motivated to get it to the publishers after this article!
Have your say...The systems of rules and procedures and the methods of communication used. A style of management which does not listen; which imposes targets, rules and procedures, stops interpretation, innovation and does not reward initiative - is all too prevalent. Leaderships role is to break down barriers - enhance the role of the human resource and drive out fear. If you are always looking over your shoulder you are not going to perform! High rates of labour turn over, especially in a time of recession is serious bad news for senior management
Yet ANOTHER survey telling us what we already know and have known for a long time - that a 'command & control' leadership style based predominantly on power, control, egos and profits, will invariably fail.<br/><br/>We need authentic leaders with an Authentic Leadership style; those people who are honest and trustworthy with a pro-social focus. <br/><br/>Leaders who understand that modern leadership is 'relational' at its core and that ultimately, people are more important than ticking the task list.<br/><br/>Nowhere is this more evident than within the NHS, where numbers, ratios and performance indicators have replaced compassion.