Relationships between bosses and staff characterised by poor communication and lack of trust

Relationships between employers and employees in many British workplaces resemble a marriage under stress, characterised by poor communications and low levels of trust, research has revealed.

A study of 2,000 UK workers, commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and conducted by Kingston University Business School, shows the problems lead to under-performance, low productivity and high levels of staff turnover.

Findings include:

  • About one-third of employees (30%) say they rarely or never get feedback on their performance

  • 42% do not feel they are kept well informed about what is going on in their organisation

  • One-quarter (25%) of employees are rarely or never made to feel their work counts

  • 44% of employees feel under excessive pressure once or twice a week or more

  • 22% of employees experience high levels of stress, rising to 32% among managers

  • 47% of employees are looking for another job, or are in the process of leaving their current job.

Mike Emmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said: “Many employees feel like neglected spouses. As in any marriage, good relationships need work and commitment. But with only three in 10 employees engaged, the findings suggest many managers just aren’t doing enough to keep their staff interested.”

Catherine Truss, professor of HR management at Kingston University Business School, and lead author of the report, said: “This study clearly shows how much management practice affects people’s attitudes towards their work.

“There is so much that managers can do to make their staff feel valued and improve levels of engagement that will benefit both employers and employees.” 

The survey, Working Life: Employee Attitudes and Engagement 2006, will be launched on Tuesday 5 December.

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