6 in 10 employees don’t trust their senior leaders: Survey

Government, retail, transportation see lowest confidence levels

Six in 10 (61 per cent) of Canadian employees don't trust their senior leaders, according to a survey by the Canadian Management Centre and Ipsos Reid.

Only 39 per cent of Canadians trust what their senior leaders say and less than four in 10 feel that senior leadership is doing a good job of communicating what is happening in their workplace, found Build a Better Workplace: Employee Engagement Edition, which surveyed 1,200 Canadian workers. 

Less than one-half (44 per cent) of Canadian employees have confidence in the senior leadership of their organization.

The confidence that employees have with senior leadership varies considerably by industry. Those in transportation (32 per cent), government (35 per cent) and retail industries (39 per cent) exhibit the lowest levels of confidence in their senior leadership. The highest levels of confidence were reported by employees in high tech/IT (55 per cent), found the survey.

"We knew that leadership trust and confidence was an issue in Canada, but we were surprised to reveal the actual low level of trust that working Canadians have in the leaders of the organizations in which they work,” said John Wright, president and managing director of the Canadian Management Centre. “Organizations need to take notice and properly address the issues around employee engagement, trust and confidence in their leaders, because getting it right will ultimately benefit their bottom line and long-term success."

Only 38 per cent of Canadian employees feel that senior leadership is doing a good job at communicating what is happening across the workplace. Across Canada, Albertans (41 per cent) are the most satisfied with this aspect whereas employees in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the most disappointed (35 per cent).

When it comes to various sectors, those in financial industries (53 per cent) seem to be doing a good job with open communication but there is room for improvement for those in transportation (26 per cent) and health and social work (33 per cent).

The highest levels of overall employee satisfaction are in education (82 per cent), government (73 per cent) and health and social work (72 per cent), found the survey. The least satisfied employees are in retail (58 per cent) and transportation (61 per cent), found the survey.

Employee engagement is a leading indicator of performance and competitiveness, said the report. An engaged employee cares about the future of the organization and is willing to invest on their own initiative to see that it succeeds. And there is a direct link between employee engagement and organizational performance, said Wright.

"Most successful organizations also have high engagement levels, and companies that choose to ignore employee engagement do so at their peril," he said.

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