- Only 21% of HR leaders said they think their employees trust company leaders, according to a new study from Achievers, Empowerment and Trust: The Keys to Employee Engagement Understanding HR and Engagement Leaders' Challenges and Opportunities.
- The study revealed severe engagement challenges among employers, too. Less than 40% of respondents said employees understand how their work fuels their organizations' goals and still fewer (34%) reported thinking employees provide feedback to their employers and its leaders.
- Almost two-thirds of employees said they want to provide feedback through always-on feedback channels, and the same amount of HR and engagement leaders said such tools are "vital for an engagement listening program." But only 20% of organizations make that available, the survey found.
Achievers' choice to poll HR leaders on employee trust, communication and engagement is telling, especially in light of related research. Studies like this one appear to point out a strong connection between those three components. A 2017 study by the University of California, Irvine, for example, found that tenured employees lose trust in organizations when their employers fail to communicate policy enforcement procedures.
HR, however, is in a good position to address the underlying causes of distrust, such as change, stress or a lack of communication. A proactive approach — with buy-in from leadership — can manage disruptive change effectively, experts recently told HR Dive.
Such efforts should be a priority for good reason: An American Psychological Association survey found that change can create chronic stress in employees, leading to distrust toward management. A third of respondents in the report said change caused them to think their employers had a hidden agenda or that their employers' intentions differed from those communicated.