Interaction Associates, releasing its study Building Trust in Business 2012, finds that business trust levels are at the lowest point since 2009, especially regarding the consistency, predictability, and transparency of business leaders. The survey found that only 23 percent of employees think that their organization’s leadership reflects these features, down from about 40 percent in 2009.
But the study does show that there is a clear connection between strong business results and high leadership ratings from employees. The study also found that high-performing companies are helmed by leaders who are typically more focused on involving employees in business decision making and on allowing employees to share in the responsibility of the success of their company. These performance leaders saw a 12 percent increase in number of employees who understand how their jobs contribute to business objectives.
“Trust is at rock bottom, but if leaders want to drive trust levels higher, we say: focus on openness, transparency, and involving employees,” said Linda Stewart, CEO of Interaction Associates. “Shared responsibility for success is a key characteristic of high trust organizations – meaning employees are committed to a common goal and are eager to collaborate to make it happen.”
High-performing companies were much more successful at building trust and retaining vital employees than low-performing companies, experiencing a 14 percent increase in number of employees who have high trust in management and a 15 percent increase in those who see their leaders as effective.
“In other words, at high performing companies, leaders are trusted, they’re known for leadership transparency — and they involve their people in decision-making,” said Stewart. “That’s really good news for any company looking to know what helps drive substantial results today.”