Less than half of workers trust the information they receive

A quarter of UK workers do not have confidence in their senior leaders, according to research from HR consultancy firm Towers Watson.

Just 48 per cent of employees said that leaders inspired them to give their best work, meaning more than half of respondents were unconfident about top management’s ability to motivate and guide them through today’s dynamic business environment.

A lack of trust in leadership was named by workers as one of the top reasons to consider leaving a job, and less than half (49 per cent) of employees said they believed the information they received from the senior leadership team.

The research, taken from the 2014 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, revealed that one in four employees in the UK are currently disengaged, with “excessive amounts of change” cited as the top cause of work-related stress.

However, despite the rapidly evolving working environment, less than a third of the 1,863 respondents in the UK said changes were well implemented at their organisation.

Nick Tatchell, director of organisational surveys and insights at Towers Watson, said: “Our latest research shows that UK bosses are not as effective as they could be in driving strong performance from the workforce. Being a great leader means creating a culture in which employees can flourish by removing obstacles and providing inspiration. Having a significant segment of the working population worrying about too much change, without a clear steer from the top, qualifies as leadership failure.”

Just 40 per cent of employees said that the change management programme at their organisation was well communicated, and 49 per cent said the reason for changes were clearly explained.

Less that half of workers (49 per cent) said leaders were succeeding in building enthusiasm for change.

Richard Veal, UK leader for reward, talent and communication at Towers Watson, said how senior leaders communicated change was crucial for businesses to succeed.

“The best leaders understand the importance of engaging employees at an emotional level. They address difficult issues head-on in their communications to staff, but at the same time create excitement around what is to come – rather than the current fear and disillusionment that our research highlights,” he said.

“Strong change leadership requires CEOs to know what success looks like and how to tell a story. It is about giving as much specific detail as possible but also acknowledging what is not yet known.

“They need to demonstrate transparency and apply a personal touch by going above and beyond the corporate messaging. They also need to find opportunities to actively involve employees in plans by facilitating a two-way dialogue will also support engagement goals.

“Above all, leaders need to come across as authentic to inspire the confidence and respect of the workforce.”


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