Distrust in senior leadership rife across UK businesses

Research shows a quarter of British workers are looking to switch jobs due to distrust with senior leaders, while two in five say internal communication is inconsistent with public statements

London, 24 February – Senior leaders’ failure to communicate effectively with employees during the pandemic is creating distrust within British workplaces, research released today by Brands2Life has revealed.

In a poll of more than 1,200 workers in the UK conducted by Opinium for Brands2Life, two in five (39%) said communication to staff about the organisation was inconsistent with public statements, and a quarter (26%) are looking to switch jobs because of a lack of trust in senior leaders.

Just 50% of British workers are confident in the leadership teams running the organisations where they work.

The results show that an increase in communication, empathy and transparency amongst from the senior team within an organisation has direct correlation with confidence in the organisation’s leaders, and its future. 83% of employees who believe their senior leaders were transparent about the impact of the pandemic, are also confident in their organisation’s leadership team. Similarly, 70% of employees who said their leaders communicated with empathy during the pandemic, also express confidence in the senior leadership team.

With the very existence of many businesses under threat, leaders need their employees to be performing at their best to deliver results. Keeping teams motivated and engaged is crucial to this and is a responsibility that starts with the leadership within an organisation. Yet, only 43% of employees believe that leaders are concerned about morale at work.

For employees to deliver the best results, they need to be working to a common goal that is clearly articulated. But at many organisations, this is not forthcoming. Just over half (56%) of UK workers said that leaders have communicated a vision or plan for the organisation to succeed beyond the pandemic to employees.

When formal plans for the future of the organisation are not communicated, employees rely on the values and culture of the organisation as a guide. But just over half (55%) said that during the pandemic leaders made decisions that were consistent with the organisation’s values and culture.

Harriet Rich, Managing Director, Corporate & Business at Brands2Life comments: “Honesty and transparency are signs of true leadership, not weakness. Too often leaders hide behind the notion of protecting their employees from sensitive information or bad news. Employees don’t expect to be in the know on all things, but leaders need to put themselves out there and be human with their teams. It can be challenging and requires thought, planning and empathy – but the result will be a more engaged workforce, which in turn delivers better results for the entire organisation.”

Brands2Life offers a range of services designed to help businesses navigate unexpected challenges. These services include employee engagement programmes to educate, engage and equip employees to perform at their best. Its transformation communications offering helps businesses map and prioritise audiences, set messages and develop communications strategies to facilitate growth and help organisations chart a new direction.