Americans Still Lack Trust In Company Management Post-Recession

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New Maritz® Poll Finds There is Serious Work to be Done on the Employee Engagement Front  

ST. LOUIS (July 8, 2011) – Almost three years after the onset of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, employees still harbor a deep distrust of company management. A new Maritz® Poll conducted by Maritz Research, a leader in employee satisfaction research, found that despite a slight improvement in business conditions, the American workforce remains less engaged with their employers than they did one year ago. Poor communication, lack of perceived caring, inconsistent behavior, and perceptions of favoritism were cited by respondents as the largest contributors to their lack of trust in senior leaders.

According to the poll, approximately, one-quarter (25 percent) of employees report having less trust in management than they did last year. Only 10 percent of employees trust management to make the right decision in times of uncertainty. The percentage increases to 16 percent among employees 18-24 years of age who only recently entered the workforce and didn’t directly experience many of the management scandals of the past 10 years.

Slightly more than one in 10 Americans (14 percent) believes their company’s leaders are ethical and honest. In addition, the poll found that only 12 percent of employees believe their employer genuinely listens to and cares about its employees, and only seven percent of employees believe senior management’s actions are completely consistent with their words.

“Employee trust is such a critical factor for success, especially given what the American workforce has faced the past several years. This data paints such a dire picture of employee trust levels, management must ask themselves how they can better engage with their people,” said Rick Garlick, Ph.D., senior director of strategic consulting and implementation, Maritz Hospitality Research Group. “A strong indicator of management mistrust is lack of shared values. Companies must align their overall values as an organization with those individual values of their people. Knowing that you work for a company whose values are similar to yours drives loyalty and strengthens trust.”

In situations where management trust is stronger than last year, nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents said their personal values were completely consistent with their company’s values. When trust in management remained the same, only 13 percent of respondents said their personal values were completely consistent with their company’s values. When trust in management weakened this year, only two percent of respondents said their personal values were aligned with their company’s values.

“Every employee is unique. The sooner management realizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to engagement doesn’t work, the sooner they’ll start earning the trust of their people and driving business growth,” said Garlick.

Read more about the results of the Maritz Poll in the Executive Summary.

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About Maritz® Poll
Maritz® Poll is an annual employee attitude survey conducted by Maritz Research. The U.S. study was conducted using an on-line panel of 1857 individuals who work 30+ hours a week, are at least 18 years of age, and are not self-employed. The survey was fielded in March 2011. The poll trended a number of items that have been continuously tracked throughout the past decade on employee attitudes toward their managers, senior leaders, co-workers, and workplace overall. Additional questions pertaining to workplace values and reward preferences were added to the ongoing study as special topics. The poll had a maximum margin of sampling error of +/- 3%.

About Maritz Research
As one of the world’s largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research, a unit of Maritz, helps many of today’s most successful companies improve performance through an actionable understanding of their customers, employees, and channel partners. Founded in 1973, Maritz Research offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, telecommunications and technology and retail industries. The company has achieved ISO:20252 registration, the international symbol of quality. Maritz Research is a member of CASRO and official sponsor of the American Marketing Association.