New research has revealed that 71% of employees lack confidence in their firm’s leadership

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Perceptions of job opportunities in the UK cooled over the last quarter with 30% of workers fearing that Britain leaving the European Union will have a negative impact on their careers. According to research by technology company CEB, employees’ mistrust of their leaders and managers is undermining loyalty and restricting growth


CEB’s report indicates that employees’ trust and confidence in their employers has started to erode. Rising to the highest levels in 24 months, 71% of workers are doubting their senior leaders’ reputations and 73% have negative perceptions of their company’s approach to people management. This increase in employee dissatisfaction correlates as just 27% of the workforce believe their leaders are doing enough to help them understand the business impact of Brexit.


Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB, says: “The unpredictability of Brexit negotiations and the perceived slowdown in business is weighing heavy on the workforce and causing a breakdown in trust and confidence. Understandably, employees are nervous about their future and their career prospects. But the growing tensions between leaders and their employees is creating challenges with loyalty and productivity.”


Despite job-seeking activity slowing by 2% in the UK, levels of intent to stay dipped slightly, indicating that more workers are considering their next job move. In fact, almost one-in-five (18%) workers report they have started looking for a new job because of the Brexit vote.


Findings from CEB also shows that those companies losing employee trust have fewer workers going above and beyond. In the UK, levels of discretionary effort have remained static over the last year with the majority of the workforce (41%) doing just enough to get by. Employees want to work hard but a communication breakdown between leaders and the workforce means that 71% of workers are unknowingly misdirecting their effort toward the wrong activities.


Kropp added: “We’ve seen a huge performance drag caused by political, economical and organisational uncertainty. If leaders want to rebuild trust and keep workers engaged and productive, they need to set expectations that change is the new normal. And rather than going underground to formulate a “battle plan,” leaders should talk openly about business challenges despite not having all the answers.


“By having a conversation strategy, not just a communication strategy, more employees can understand the company direction and feel included in change. This in turn makes them feel less anxious about the future.”