An alarming 74% of employees say they feel distrusted by their bosses, according to a new survey commissioned by a leading video software firm.
With new fears creeping in of artificial intelligence replacing job roles, and a rise in redundancies over recent years, three-quarters of staff say they don’t feel trusted by their employers, while 77% claim they would quit, or have already left roles where they did not feel trusted.
The new research from US video software company Mmhmm, which surveyed 1000 workers, found that a huge proportion of employees (95%) placed significant value on feeling trusted in their role and being given autonomy to do it.
The power of autonomy
In fact, autonomy matters most to employees, with 57% citing micromanagement as the main culprit when it comes to feelings of distrust.
Phil Libin, chief executive of Mmhmm said:
“Today, even after three years of remote productivity, many bosses believe their employees aren’t really doing anything.
“Now that it’s possible to bring people back to the office, they ask, ‘If I can’t see you, how do I know you’re working?’”
Despite its positive links to a more productive workforce, remote work has seen an unwelcome rise in micromanagement, and managers should be conscious of asking for too many updates from their team, if they want to exude a culture of trust and retain talent.
58% of workers claimed bosses were checking in on them too often, with an average of two to three check-ins each week for a one-month project.
How can employers show trust?
Encourage independent decision-making
67% of those surveyed indicated that they wanted greater decision-making powers.
Giving your staff the freedom to make their own decisions can open up opportunities for creativity and innovation, and foster leadership qualities within your workforce, which can have hugely positive effects on employee retention and engagement.
Be more flexible
Flexible working is also regarded as an important feature in a high-trust culture in terms of when and where people work. Since Covid-19 there has been an increased demand for access to more flexible working practices. The survey backed this notion with 58% of respondents saying they would like to choose their own hours and 70% quoting asynchronous work as an essential factor in their job satisfaction.
Employers need to demonstrate confidence that their staff will get their work done, and focus more on outcomes rather that when their employee logged on.
Cut down meetings
Minimising the number of inefficient meetings is another way to promote trust amongst teams.
43% of employees, particularly those with children, want their employers to cut down on meetings to conserve their time. Of those wanting fewer meetings, more than half (53%) felt that the majority of meetings they attend aren’t productive.
Shortening meetings or completely clearing the calendar of meetings on a specific weekday has been linked to boosts in productivity for some organisations, and links back to the promotion of flexible working.
The dawn of AI
With the emergence of artificial intelligence, in particular the recent dawn of chatbots like ChatGPT, new fears have emerged that AI could soon replace jobs and make certain roles entirely redundant. However, findings from this survey suggested most employees (90%) had confidence that their work was essential to their company’s success and instead recognised the potential value AI could add to their roles in terms of assisting with more mundane tasks and freeing up time for them to focus on more fulfilling projects.
Closing the trust gap
Reflecting on the survey’s findings in an interview with The Times, Phil Libin of Mmhmm said:
“The trust gap between knowledge workers and their employers grows wider every day, and it must be repaired if companies want to weather the next phase of work.
“A lot of employees think that the companies don’t have their best interest in mind, which sucks because given the number of hours and mental time and energy that most people are spending at work, why would you accept that there’s this part of your life that’s bad and unpleasant?”
As a business leader, Libin has come to re-evaluate the way in which he believes trust in the workplace should operate, stating:
“I was brought up in this culture where I just assumed that people had to earn my trust. But I have realised that I just don’t have time. It’s just inefficient. So I have to just trust everyone by default.”
Thanks for reading
We hope you found this post interesting. Has your workplace prioritised trust and autonomy since hybrid or remote working, or are you one of the majority who feels distrusted by your boss? We’d love to hear more about your experiences – leave us a comment below.
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