• Less than half of workers have faith in senior team

  • 11 Sep 2012
  • Comments 2 comments

British workers are losing confidence in their senior management, new research from Towers Watson has claimed.

Only 51 per cent of employees trust the information that they receive from the senior figures in their organisation, and just 44 per cent believe in their leadership team’s ability to improve business performance.

The consultancy company’s Global Workforce Study also found that workers felt pressured to work harder and for longer in order to drive growth and fulfill company expectations.

Out of the 2,600 British workers surveyed, six in ten claimed that they were working more hours than normal. But only 45 per cent felt that leaders were managing costs well and only half rated their senior managers’ performance at growing the business as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

The research also highlighted a widening disconnect between top leaders and their workforce, resulting in a “climate of discontent”, said Towers Watson.

A third of respondents reported that their organisation was doing a poor job of developing future leaders. This failure to inspire and communicate could result in an exodus of talent, warned Towers Watson, as 31 per of those canvassed were prepared to leave their organisation if they lost trust in their senior team.

It was essential that leaders communicated business strategy and employee expectations clearly, particularly in recessionary times, said Arvinder Dhesi, head of talent management at Towers Watson.

“It can be easy for senior managers to lose touch with their staff when pressured by targets and budgets, but the long-term damage this can do to the company could prove to be much bigger and more expensive,” Dhesi explained.

“It is particularly worrying to see how many workers are losing faith in the system of communication, which could make it difficult to attract and retain key talent in the future. It is vital that UK businesses take note of this growing trend and act to tackle it right now to avoid an era of ‘lost leaders’”.

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  • Good communication skills are critical to business success. What we can take away from this research is the need for ongoing, clear communication between senior managers and their team members in a bid to retain top talent. In my opinion effective communication skills  need to be the focus in all business transactions, particularly in uncertain economic climates. A focus on this can reassure employees of their value opening up a two-way dialogue. Communication skills are constantly evolving due to the variation in mediums and therefore supporting this area with dedicated learning interventions contributes to  clearer messaging.<br/><br/>Rachel Kay, Business Development Director, Thales Training & Consultancy

  • My experience suggests that you need to take people along with you by communicating as much as you can. I’ve found you need to use a business case to win over their "business heads" but you also need to find a way of making sure they understand what I call the "moral imperative". What do I mean by that? I mean it's about getting colleagues to accept that what you're doing is simply the right thing to do and not just about business.<br/><br/>As for the “disconnect”: once again from experience, I’ve found that the very senior leadership get it; those who’re new to senior leadership to junior leadership are target driven and lose the necessary humanity in search of “reaching goals”; this leads to frustration from the “workers”, for want of a better word, which leads to very senior leaders being blamed. <br/><br/>Barnie