A recent study has revealed how important trust is to the employee experience, yet despite some improvements since COVID-19, there are still trust gaps between employees and their HR teams.
The study was done by Cezanne HR, which surveyed 1,000 UK workers in large organisations. Before exploring its findings, it first referenced a Harvard Business Review study entitled ‘The Neuroscience of Trust’, which found that employees that worked in high-trust environments were more productive and took fewer sick days.
This study also found that employees in high-trust organisations reported 106% more energy at work, 76% more engagement, 50% higher productivity, 74% less stress, and took 29% fewer sick days.
The Cezanne HR study found that COVID-19 positively impacted building trust between staff and HR teams, where 32.1% said they had more trust in their HR personnel than before the pandemic.
However, for more regular issues that employees go to HR for help with, trust gaps remain where 48% said they “aren’t sure or don’t trust the HR team to make them aware of internal promotion opportunities .”
Furthermore, a third of respondents said that getting help from HR was “hard or nearly impossible”, while 47% said they wouldn’t trust HR to “help them manage conflict with another member of staff.” When it came to staff trusting their HR team to “respect their privacy and confidentiality”, 31% said they didn’t.
The study also threw up an issue with perceived favouritism where 43% said they believe their HR team favours senior staff. A general lack of familiarity between employees and their HR team was also revealed, where only 55% “were confident that they would recognise a member of the HR team if they met them.”
As a result of these findings, the study has earmarked four areas for organisations to focus on to improve trust and engagement between employees and HR teams. These are:
1. Improve recognition
The study found that employees who recognised their HR team were more likely to have trust in them to help them manage a workplace conflict, among other things, showing that visibility of HR staff is key.
2. Champion diversity
HR teams that support diversity initiatives enjoy higher trust from employees. This includes 65% of staff who said they would trust HR to tell them about internal opportunities and 50% who said they would trust HR to act impartially and not favour senior staff over junior staff. When it comes to having trust in HR to manage a workplace conflict, when HR teams champion diversity, 67% of staff have faith in HR teams to do so effectively, this drops to 33% among staff who don’t believe their HR teams support diversity.
3. Enable easier communication
The study suggests that HR teams “take the lead” on creating better communication between employees and HR, so they can easily access information and know who to go to if they have a problem.
4. Remember the ‘people first approach’
HR teams are known to be busy with administrative tasks; however, they must remember that their primary duties are to their organisation’s people, where building “trusting relationships and championing work equity” should be their core function, adds the survey.
Lastly, with their combination of practical and psychological knowledge of human resource management, the study suggests that HR teams are the key builders of workplace trust and can even work to improve this process between employees and their managers.
To read the report in full, click here.
In this article, you learned that:
- Employees that worked at high-trust organisations reported 106% more energy at work.
- Since COVID-19, 32.1% said they had more trust in their HR personnel than before the pandemic.
- HR teams that support diversity initiatives enjoy higher trust from staff, where 50% said that they would trust HR to act impartially and not favour senior staff over junior staff in such organisations.