Only 36 per cent of British workers trust their senior leaders while 58 per cent display signs of having adopted a “not bothered” attitude to their work, according to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey.
Employees who display neutral engagement are about half as likely to go the extra mile with regard to workload and hours than those who are engaged and nearly three times more likely to be looking for a new job, found the survey of 2,068 employees across the United Kingdom.
Of those who are neutrally engaged, 26 per cent reported they are looking for a new job, compared to nine per cent of engaged employees and 66 per cent of disengaged employees.
There is also a strong correlation between employee engagement and knowledge of an organization’s core purpose, found CIPD.
"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,” said Peter Cheese, chief executive at CIPD. “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 wakeup call for employers.”
Organizations need to pay close attention to the impact the behaviours of senior leaders are having on the rest of the workforce and consider how they can improve corporate culture from the top down, he said.
“The HR profession is uniquely positioned to help organizations properly understand existing cultures and behaviours, to re-examine and redefine corporate values and to revisit the way in which those values are reinforced, incentivized and rewarded through the day-to-day behaviours by managers — from the very top down to the front line.”
Employees also need to believe their views are respected and that they have a voice at the organization, otherwise there is a risk that when things go wrong, no-one tells the executive team until it is too late, said Cheese. Just as importantly, empowered and engaged employees can provide customer-inspired innovation and ensure organizations’ products and services adapt quickly to take advantage of fast-changing markets.
"Building trust in senior leaders and employee engagement requires a shift away from traditional command-and-control styles of leadership to a distributed leadership model where managers at all levels have the ability to win hearts and minds, and get the best out of their people in the service of the organization."
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