Lack of trust in US senior management

Worker
trust and confidence in senior management has fallen over the past two years
and, unless reversed, presents a major threat to future corporate
competitiveness, according to a survey of nearly 13,000 workers.

The
survey – conducted earlier this year by Watson Wyatt Worldwide – finds that
fewer than two out of five (39 percent) employees trust senior leaders in US
companies. 

Moreover,
there was a five-point drop between 2000 to 2002 in both the percentage of
employees (45 per cent) who say they have confidence in the job being done by
senior management and the percentage of workers (63 per cent) who believe their
companies conduct business with honesty and integrity. 

"Falling
levels of employee trust are a major threat to future corporate competitiveness,"
said Ilene Gochman PhD, Watson Wyatt’s national practice leader for
organisation measurement and author of the survey.

"Unless
corporate America can resolve the crisis of confidence among its employees, it
has little hope of restoring the trust and confidence of investors that is so
crucial in these economic times."

Left
untouched, low employee trust levels will exact a high financial price, Gochman
warns. "Employee trust levels and corporate performance are closely
linked.  In fact, our survey found that
the rate of three-year total returns to shareholders is almost three times
higher at companies with high trust levels than at companies with low trust
levels," she explained.

Gochman
believes that in order to restore employee trust and confidence, companies must
focus their efforts in several areas, including assessment, communication and
effectively managing business change.

By
Ben Willmott

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