Are you really surprised?
Sometimes it seems that we research things where we should – certainly if we are worth our salt – already know the answers. Perhaps this is necessary to reassure us and give us the confidence that we are on the right road. Certainly the results of the latest global survey by Blessing White, highlighting trust in senior leadership as an important factor in employee engagement appear to fall into this category. After all, would you really expect people to be totally engaged if they felt the senior leaders were a bunch of ... (you fill in the blank!)
And certainly the conclusion that "Trust the boss" implies is that senior management “deliver engagement.” But is that the correct conclusion?
The “disconnect” showed only 36% of engaged employees trusted their line managers, compared with 75% percent of the total sample population. This is very surprising, not just because the percentage that trusted senior management remained almost constant for both groups at around 50%, but because traditionally HR have led you believe that dissatisfaction with one’s immediate manager is the primary cause of:
- Employee disengagement; and hence, ultimately,
- Employee turnover.
Yet here you have more engaged than disengaged people who distrust their line manager – and all while the overall trust in senior management shows insignificant difference. So clearly there is something here that warrants your deeper consideration.
The conclusion that trust in senior management is important may be valid, but do you think it warrants the degree of promotion that it’s given? After all, only 30% of people are engaged anyway. And even for those employees “under half trusted their senior leader!”
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
So if it is not the employee’s immediate manager that elicits engagement – and it clearly isn’t – and it isn’t trust in senior management – which may be a factor, but clearly not as significant as the report suggests, then what does?
Are you barking up the wrong tree in your endeavours to win “the talent war” or “the hearts and minds” of your employees? What if engagement is intrinsic? Certainly, that is what I have always believed. It is what the name Zealise is intended to convey and what the solutions we promote and champion offer you - the means to inspire your people to fulfil their own potential. Isn’t that the recipe for true engagement?