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Managers not trusted by employees


Workers were found to be disincentivised and reluctant to share their problems with their superiors

More than one in four UK workers do not trust their direct managers, according to research from the O.C. Tanner Institute.

The 6 Essential Aspects of Workplace Culture to Focus on Today involved six sets of two focus groups across six countries and a survey involving 9,622 respondents across 12 countries. It found that 27% of UK workers do not trust their direct managers and 45% do not trust senior leaders.

As a result workers were found to be disincentivised and reluctant to share their problems with their superiors. Just 45% of workers reported that they are motivated by their direct managers to do their best work, and only 53% thought they could go to them with concerns.

When it came to the behaviours that caused this erosion of trust, 28% of respondents said that their direct managers often took credit for their work or ideas. When it came to resolving workplace issues, 34% said they did not trust their direct managers to stand up for them or ‘have their back’.

Robert Ordever, executive director of O.C. Tanner Europe, said he was concerned by the results and expects them to have a negative impact on the workplace. “Strong leaders are crucial to creating a successful company culture and so learning that so many managers aren’t trusted by the UK workforce is a startling statistic,” he said.

“If managers fail to support their teams, don’t recognise their achievements, and do little to motivate them to achieve ‘great work’ this seeps into the fabric of the organisation; creating a negative and uninspiring workplace,” he added.

He suggested that employers need to step in to build trust levels. “It’s the responsibility of organisations to teach managers how to lead,” he said. “This is not about being ‘the boss’ but about motivating teams, sharing responsibilities, advocating for their employees and driving passion and commitment. By championing this approach across the organisation success will follow.”