Suspicious minds question managers’ motives at work

UK
employees distrust their managers and suspect them of dishonesty at work,
according to new research.

The
survey, carried out by employment law, policy and employee relations adviser
Liquid HR, finds that unscrupulous management and vague rule setting are cited
as justifiable excuses for workplace dishonesty.

Dissatisfaction
with long hours and poor pay also emerges as a major factor contributing to
workplace duplicity.

More
than 600 employees between the ages of 18 and 65 took part in the Honesty is
the Best Policy survey, which  The aim
of the research was to find out how honest UK employees are, their perception
of their managers’ own honesty and the main reasons motivating dishonest
behaviour.

Although
most respondents viewed themselves as basically honest, they were far more
likely to suspect their manager of devious behaviour.

Employees
generally rate themselves as considerably more honest than their managers.
Twelve per cent admitted to taking the odd ‘sickie’, yet over a quarter
believed this to be true of their manager. Only six per cent of respondents
owned up to exaggerating their expenses, whereas over a quarter suspected their
manager of fiddling their claims.

Similar
suspicions were cited for crimes such as using company stationery for personal
use (32 per cent versus 45 per cent) and pretending to work at home but really
taking a day off (11 per cent versus 37 per cent).

More
than half of respondents agreed that a bad example set by managers was a
justifiable excuse for behaving dishonestly at work, while 45 per cent felt
that lack of clarity about rules and policies was a mitigating factor.

“UK
workers come out of this survey relatively unscathed as far as dishonesty is
concerned,” says Derek Kemp, chairman of Liquid HR. “However, the extent to
which people suspect their managers of dastardly deeds is worrying and points
to a breakdown in communication between the two levels.

www.liquidhr.co.uk

Tips
for employers – How to keep your employees on the straight and narrow


Remember, a happy employee is a committed and honest employee. Invest in their
development and make them feel valued


Eliminate potential grey areas by drawing up clear policies


Make sure policies are clearly communicated and that employees have easy access
to them for their own reference


Have clear and correct channels for all employees to air grievances


Put in place a documented disciplinary procedure for dealing with misconduct


Create a culture of honesty in your organisation – managers should lead by
example


Provide praise and recognition at all times, not just at reviews, to increase
employee loyalty


Improve trust between line managers and direct reports through leadership
training/coaching


Share options and profit-share schemes create a sense of ownership for and a
positive attitude towards the organisation and discourage dishonest behaviour


Keep employees updated on the strategic vision and goals of the organisation.

By Quentin Reade

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