Staff don't trust senior management

2004

The vast majority of HR professionals believe that their staff do not trust senior managers, according to a new poll that is only the latest to highlight the poor opinion most people have of the leadership of UK firms.

A poll on the HR Gateway website found that an overwhelming eight out of ten feel that employees do not believe what top management tells them about the future plans and direction of their firm.

Only 15 per cent of the poll of 270 respondents thought that that staff trusted their senior management.

Rushing to the defence of the ‘top table’, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said that while the figures were disappointing, many of their members are trying to improve matters, it said.

"There is an appetite out there for change and things are improving. But it is a matter of good middle management. People in this position need to be ensuring that communication is taking place and staff are fully informed,” said the IoD.

However, chief executive of the Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM), Gary Ince, feels that communication is failing at all levels and believes it is a product of the continual change many firms find themselves in:

"Mistrust is a sign of a lack of leadership at all levels and is indicative of the major change many firms are experiencing. Marconi is a good example of this. It divested its traditional business only to have to realign itself shortly afterwards. A huge amount of change for staff.

"Leaders need to ensure that any changes are communicated early and that staff know why the change is necessary. They also need to ensure that the message has spread and if anything goes wrong they need to ensure they are honest and communicate why it went wrong,” he said.

One recent survey suggested that professionals in the communications industry give one in ten feeling that senior management had the skills to relay key messages.

A MORI poll last year suggested that senior managers and directors come top of the list of highly mistrusted mediums of communication. One in five employees said they are actively not to be trusted – a rise of four per cent since 1994.