One in five Canadians don't trust their managers – and it's killing EX

Executive offers advice on how to rebuild bond with employees

One in five Canadians don't trust their managers – and it's killing EX

Trust is an essential aspect of every human relationship, but it’s especially true for workplaces where collaboration is necessary for success. So, how can employers continue to show they’re trustworthy despite figures indicating that employees trust them less?

The latest LifeWorks research found 20%, or one in five, Canadian workers reported a decline in trust towards their employers compared to before the pandemic. Their reasons for this are:

  • Change in workplace culture (46%)
  • Perceived change in how employee wellbeing is/was handled by the employer (43%)
  • Changes in how we communicate (30%)
  • Perceived changes in employee commitment to work (23%)
  • Perceived changes in employee productivity (18%)
  • Perception of how we are handling return to work or reopening (18%)
  • Perception of how we handled work during the pandemic (16%)

Read more: Is a lack of trust crippling your company?

Paula Allen, LifeWorks global leader and SVP, research and total wellbeing, explained that the poor relationship between employers and employees might be because of a change in priorities and expectations.

"At the start of the pandemic, there was an increase in communication and great concern for employee wellbeing demonstrated by many employers," Allen told HRD. "While the concern for wellbeing may not have changed, the efforts to communicate and demonstrate has in many cases lessened in favour of other priorities."

Five pillars of workplace trust

According to Allen, direct managers are the main influencers on culture, given their "broad reach" in the workplace. So, what can they do to improve their level of trustworthiness in the eyes of staff? Allen said there’s five pillars of workplace trust; transparency, concern for the wellbeing of individuals, psychological safety, inclusion, and being valued.

Read more: Trust in WFH: 'Treat people like adults and they'll act like adults'

The executive explained that trust is strongest when both employers and employees invest in these areas. However, given the influence of employers in the office, Allen suggested that they consider the following advice when looking to rebuild bonds:

  • Transparency requires clear communication and mechanisms to answer questions
  • Showing concern about wellbeing requires visible support and the promotion of resources
  • Psychological safety requires open respectful dialogue
  • Inclusion requires meaningful engagement
  • Showing that you value people requires empathy and appropriate recognition

"The main thing going forward is to maintain a strong focus on employee wellbeing and a high trust culture, even in the face of other issues such as hybrid work," said the executive.

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