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Trust in senior management falters in wake of executive scandals

Corporate and executive scandals are eroding employee trust in their employers, warns the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

According to its latest quarterly Employee Outlook survey which questioned more than 2,000 employees, only 36 per cent trust their senior leaders.

It said lack of trust was having a 'damaging' impact on employee engagement with their work.

More than half (58 per cent) of employees display signs of a 'not bothered' attitude to their work when questioned about hours, work-to-life balance, motivation, relationship with colleagues and how content they were with their job.

Alternatively, employees who are most engaged with their work were often more willing to go the extra mile with workload and hours. This halved for employees who were 'neutrally' engaged, while those who were less engaged were three times more likely to look elsewhere for a job.

It also found a strong link between employee engagement and knowledge of the organisation's core values and purpose.

The findings support the Government's MacLeod review into employee engagement which found that greater take-up could make a positive impact on business competitiveness and performance.

Chief executive of the CIPD Peter Cheese said: "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."

"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."

Overall, employee attitudes to senior managers, and the extent to which they trust them and are consulted on important decisions affecting the business, had the strongest link to well-being.

The CIPD concluded it was in employers' interests to boost staff well-being, "not just because of they have a duty of care towards them, but because of the link between well-being and engagement, as well as lower risks of accidents and lower levels of stress and absence."