Workers across the pond trust leaders more

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Feelings towards senior management improve the closer to the Atlantic sentiment is tested.

In Watson Wyatt’s ‘WorkUK’ and ‘WorkUSA’ surveys, it is revealed that while 51% of US workers have trust and confidence in the job being done by their organisations leaders a mere 31% of UK workers feel the same.

Andrew Cocks, European head of employee research at Watson Wyatt said that UK business leaders can take little comfort from the results.

“There is a clear need for better dialogue between management and employees and the development of a real climate of openness and trust, especially if we are going to compete effectively with the US in the new ‘cheap dollar’ world.”

The survey authors found that corporate scandals including Enron had been major contributors to a US-low in attitudes towards senior managers in recent years. When sentiment was tested in 2002, following the collapse of energy giant Enron it had fallen to 44%.

According to Cocks, lack of confidence in senior management reflects on the bottom line.

“In an employee survey we recently conducted for a major European company, belief in senior management proved to be the strongest leading indicator of new product sales and was their top business performance indicator.”

Watson Wyatt recommend improving communication channels. They say this is the best way to build trust with employees.

But they warn that despite the impending Information and Consultation regulations only 30% of managers explain the reasons behind major decisions and as few as 18% believe that management successfully involves employees in decision making.

The Directive which aims to "promote social dialogue between management and labour" will be introduced in a phased approach and will apply to undertakings in the following way:

  • 150 or more employees from 23 March 2005
  • 100 or more employees from 23 March 2007, and
  • 50 or more employees from 23 March 2008

A representative sample of over 15,000 private sector workers in the US and UK were interviewed.

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17th Feb 2005 13:17

I do believe that you need to be wary of confusing "responses" with "beliefs". Americans are socialised to believe that a negative attitude towards anything is a moral evil. Consequently, they tend to mark everything as "excellent" or "great", even when this doesn't match their real opinion.

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