Lack of clarity and communication undermining employee trust
New research among UK employees highlights the challenges faced by leadership teams managing employees during the coronavirus pandemic. The findings show that lack of communication and clarity during the crisis is having an impact on how employees feel about the business. When asked if they trust the leaders of the company they work for, just 17% said that they had total trust in the leadership, 38% trusted them on most issues, but 35% said they only trusted management on some things and a concerning 9% said that they didn’t trust them at all.
The research reveals that just 25% of employees feel there is an obvious plan when asked if their company’s leadership seem to know what they’re doing at the moment, 36% said most of the time they knew what was going on, but almost one third (32%) said that this wasn’t always clear and 5% said they ‘didn’t have a clue’.
When it comes to their role in the company strategy, many employees are unclear. Just 24% said it was 100% clear what is expected of them. Some 48% felt that this was clear most of the time, but worryingly, 16% said they have to ask for clarity and 9% said they were totally unclear.
At a time when many people are working remotely, a concerning 13% said their manager has been poor at staying in touch since the pandemic began, with a further 27% describing the contact as ‘OK’. One quarter said their employer had been thoughtful and 34% said it was ‘pretty good’ in terms of its communication. One in four workers (24%) said they felt their employer didn’t care for them.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Paul Furey, who has over 30 years’ experience of working with senior management teams and helping them improve the ways they interact with each other and the wider business, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is shining a light on their leadership skills – not just in terms of effective decision-making, but also how well they really stay in touch with other people. What may be seen by employees as ambiguous actions by leaders because they have not been fully explained, but can make leaders look like they are confused, indecisive or worse, worried, and panicking.