Category Archives: Trust

It’s all About: Trust, Honesty, and Transparency

Data Point TuesdayCompany cultures, the good, the bad, and – well in the interest of being nice we’ll leave it at that – have been the focus at Great Place to Work® for the last 25 years, since Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz researched their book The 100 Best Workplaces in America. What their research revealed is that the key to creating a great workplace revolves not around the building of a certain set of benefits and practices, but through the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace, relationships characterized by trust, pride, and camaraderie. What we call a great company culture. As Erin Osterhaus, researcher for HR technology reviewer Software Advice, points out in her blog about a recent survey, the term “company culture” has seen an astronomical rise in use since 1980, due in part to publications like The 100 Best Workplaces in America, as well as companies’ recognition that culture has a direct impact on how happy, and healthy employees are– and, how well they perform. With the rise in attention to the topic of company culture, enter the adoption of roles created specifically to focus on company culture. As Osterhaus points out, Google, #1 on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For List for the last three years, was one of the first companies to adopt such a position (Chief Culture Officer) in 2006.

company culture over timeConsidering all the research and data that surround the term “company culture” today, Software Advice surveyed 886 U.S. adults to learn how they define company culture, and to better understand what culture means to the group it impacts the most: employees and job seekers. What did they discover? Most survey takers described “company culture” as a value, belief, or habit of employees that worked at an organization, or the overall feeling of the environment at that company. The majority of respondents listed their ideal company culture as “casual or relaxed” followed by “family oriented,” “fun,” “friendly,” and “honest and transparent.” However, when asked which of these five attributes would most likely convince them to apply at company, respondents stated that “honesty and transparency” would be the biggest influencer.

So while “casual/relaxed” and “fun” ranked over honesty as the most common definition of an ideal company culture, the fact that “honesty and transparency” are the bigger influencers on whether a prospective candidate actually applies at a company highlights what we’ve known about company cultures all along… that trust and values matter most.

ideal company cultureSoftware Advice’s data prove once again that it is fostering trust and building honesty and transparency that ultimately create a sense of camaraderie amongst employees and the fun, family feel environments that respondents report as their “ideal company culture.” As Leslie Caccamese and Katie Popp state in Great Place to Work’s recent whitepaper, Five Lessons for Leaders as they Build a Great Workplace, “What people often think makes a great workplace isn’t actually what makes it so.” While great amenities like workout facilities, foosball tables, and 4 star catered meals may initially come to mind when people think “great company culture,” it’s ultimately evidence of trust-based interactions between leaders and their employees that Great Place to Work looks for when evaluating companies for our Best Companies to Work For lists in nearly 50 countries around the world.

I’ll leave you with another quote from our recent whitepaper: “…by all means, install slides and fi­reman poles; scatter about lava lamps and bean bag chairs. Bring in the manicurist and the barista, and cater to people’s pets. Just make sure these things aren’t happening in lieu of deeper, more substantial practices like involving employees in workplace decisions, keeping them informed of important issues, tending to their ongoing professional development, and sharing profi­ts fairly. These types of practices will go much further in helping employees feel that theirs is a great workplace.”

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, Business Success, China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Great Rated!, Relationships, Trust

I’m Not Crazy: Let’s Talk About Paternity Leave!

Data Point Tuesday

Perhaps it was the Father’s day celebrations that happened a few weeks back that sparked this week’s blog topic… a subject that stills seems rarely addressed: paternity leave, and workplace policies for new fathers. On the flip side, there are oodles of studies and piles of data on maternity leave and programs/policies for new mothers. While traditional social roles are still very influential and probably the biggest underlying factor for such discrepancies, at a time when working mothers are just as common as working fathers and gender equity is not something to strive for but a necessity in a great workplace, we owe it to ourselves to discuss paternity leave in the same light, and with the same vigor, as maternity leave. A 2014 study by the Boston College Center for Work and Family “THE NEW DAD: Take Your Leave” provides great perspectives on paternity policies at leading organizations, as well as an insightful global look at policies for fathers, incorporating interviews and surveys taken by ~3,000 dads.

When it comes to paid leave for time off directly following the birth of a child (for both women and men), the U.S is an outlier compared to nearly every other developed country in the world, offering no national policy on paid leave. In terms of paternity leave specifically, today there are 70 countries that offer paid leave in either the form of shared parental leave or paternity leave. It was perhaps most interesting to see father’s attitudes towards childcare and paternity leave. The vast majority of fathers surveyed rated their children as their top priority in life, more than 3 out of 4 fathers wished to spend more time with their children than they do presently, and more than 2 out of 3 fathers said caregiving should be a 50/50 proposition and wished to divide this evenly between spouses. When respondents were asked, in considering a new job, how important paid paternity/parental leave was in the U.S 89% indicated it was important, and more than half 60% indicated it was very important. The intensity of responses varied by generation, 93% of fathers from the millennial generation said paternity leave is extremely, very or somewhat important, Gen X fathers felt similar (slightly subdued at 88%) and Boomers felt least strongly (77%) – perhaps for obvious reasons.

The average amount of time off taken by fathers following the birth of a child is two weeks. Boston College’s study found, however, that there is a strong correlation between the supportiveness of the workplace culture and the number of weeks that fathers took off. The more encouraged new fathers were to spend time with their children, the more weeks they took off (on average). Whether leave was paid or unpaid was another big influencer on whether leave was taken. 86% of respondents said they would not make use of paternity leave or parental leave unless at least 70% of their salaries were paid, and 45% said compensation needed to be at 100%. When asked what the right amount of paternity leave/paternal leave should be in the U.S, 74% of fathers said 3-4 weeks.

Study by Boston College Center for Work and Family “THE NEW DAD: Take Your Leave”

The data clearly reflect the changing role of fathers and the expectation for men to be more involved with their children. Beyond this though, it may indicate that men have a strong desire to be more active parents, something organizations should encourage, for a number of reasons. More and more studies are acknowledging the importance of father/infant interaction. A recent paper in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry shows a correlation between behavioral disorders (the most common psychological problem affecting children) to disengaged interactions of fathers with their infants. A 2010 study cited in the Boston College report found that developing bonds with children at an early age improves the likelihood of a stronger relationship later in life. Additionally, global research has demonstrated benefits to families when fathers take paternity leave, including increased wellbeing for the new mothers. A recent study in the Journal of Business and Psychology Organizations found that men switch between four images of themselves as fathers: provider, role model, partner and nurturer and that depending on their work environment, one of these roles is always dominant. Men that work in an environment where they can talk about their children, for example, are more likely to be nurturers, whereas men who feel unable to discuss anything but breadwinning are likely to conform mostly to that role.

Organizations offering paternity leave are sending clear messages about work life integration and its values. While U.S. employers are not required by law to provide paid maternity or paternity leave, the positive impacts of these on building a culture of high trust are inescapable. As are the positive impacts on fathers, mothers and children. It gets increasingly difficult to argue against creating these kinds of policies.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Benefits, Paid Leave, Time off, Trust, Work Life Balance

Trust Is In Short Supply – All Over the World!

Data Point Tuesday

The recently released 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, highlights a degradation of trust between people and the institution of government, recording the biggest gap in trust since the study began in 2001. Edelman attributes this gap to “a continued destruction of trust in government that began in 2011, and a steady rise in belief in business since its nadir in 2008.” In almost half of the 27 countries surveyed, Edelman recorded a gap of 20+ points, with some countries reporting a divide of nearly 40 points. This means that people trust business more than they trust their government. The study is the firm’s 14th annual trust and credibility survey; it sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an over- sample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries.

Globally, and overall, trust declined over the last year. Edelman cites the reason for this decline due largely in part to falling trust of government in many countries. Poland, the United States, and Mexico experienced the most major trust declines (-13, -10, and -9 points), while the biggest increases in trust occurred in UAE, Indonesia, Australia and Argentina (+13, +10, +8, +8 points). General public populations reported substantially lower trust levels than informed publics, with a global trust difference of 9 points. Government saw the largest decline in trust of any institution in 2014, with the largest drops in trust in government seen in the U.S., France and Hong Kong (16, 17 and 18 points). Media also saw a decline in 2014, with nearly 80 percent of countries reporting trusting media less over the last year.

Edelmam Graphic 1Edelman’s Trust Barometer reports that trust in business has achieved an amount of stability since the implosion of trust in 2008 and 2009. With trust in business leveling out, and trust in government declining, comes the historic gap of 14 points globally between trust in business and trust in government. Despite this decline in trust of government though, the survey reports a strong demand for government regulation of business to protect consumers, with over 50% of respondents viewing government protection of consumers from business as important. The majority of respondents did not, however, see government as capable of delivering the necessary regulations on its own. 79% of respondents agreed: “when policymakers are developing new regulations on businesses and industries, they should consult with multiple stakeholders (i.e. NGOs, academics, the affected businesses/industries, etc.) before making final decisions.” As the survey states, this indicates “a significant level of permission for business to play a role in the debate and design of regulation”.

Edelman Graphic 2When it comes to trust in specific industries, technology leads the front with a trust level of 79% among informed publics. Media companies and banks trail when it comes to trust, seeing little improvement since 2009. The top five countries with the highest levels of trust in markets were (in order): Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the U.K.. BRIC countries recorded the lowest levels of market trust. When Edelman asked respondents to rank levels of trust based on business ownership structure, family-owned and small- & medium-sized business outperformed big business in all regions but Asia, where publicly-traded and big business companies received higher trust levels. A major concern however, is the plateauing and distrust in leadership that the Trust Barometer records. Academics and experts (67 percent), technical experts (66 percent) and “a person like yourself” (62 percent) are the most trusted sources of information about companies (trust in “a person like yourself” increased significantly since 2009). CEOs and government leaders however, remain at the bottom of the list for both informed and general publics, with extremely low levels of trust.

Edelman Graphic 3Though concerning and perhaps daunting, this speaks clearly to an opportunity that leadership has to engage and communicate transparently – an opportunity to begin to regain a credible voice and change perceptions. For leaders of companies, trust in them is explicably linked with the trust in the company, and the influence they wield because of that cannot be ignored. The Edelman Trust Barometer identified specific actions CEOs can take to build trust, and each actions level of importance to the general public. The highest-ranking actions included: communicating clearly and transparently (82%), telling the truth regardless of how complex or unpopular it is (81%) and engaging with employees regularly (80%). Other high-ranking actions include being visible during challenging times, and having an active media presence. Though the low levels of trust in business leadership seem to indicate it’s a complex thing to build, respondents indicate it’s simply about going back to basics. Engage, support, and don’t forget that important rule folks, honesty is the best policy!

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Edelman Trust Barometer, Leadership, Trust