Tag Archives: American Psychological Association

Where’s the Trust?

Data Point Tuesday
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey released last Wednesday, only half of U.S employees believe their employer is open and upfront with them, indicating that despite the mending U.S economy and the return of many organizations’ profitability employees are still struggling to trust their organizational leaders. This distrust comes with serious negative consequences. The APA reports that trust and engagement play important roles in the workplace, accounting for 50.8% of the variance in employee well-being. In predicting trust, the dimensions of employee involvement, recognition, and communication predicted 54% of the variance. Employees reported having greater trust in companies when the organization endeavored to recognize them for their contributions, provide opportunities for involvement, and communicate effectively. In predicting work engagement, employees’ positive perceptions of their employer’s involvement, growth and development opportunities, and health and safety efforts accounted for 27.1% of the variance.

An interesting and positive finding from the APA survey, is in strong contrast to the recent reports that have suggested upwards of 70% of employees in the U.S. are not engaged or are actively disengaged. APA’s Work and Well-Being Survey finds approximately 50% of working Americans reporting average levels of engagement, with around a quarter reporting low or very low levels and just under a quarter reporting high or very high levels. The mean engagement score for working Americans was 3.62 on a six-point scale (zero representing never being engaged and six representing always being engaged). Additionally, the survey finds that 70% of U.S workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs, however, just 47% continue to be satisfied with employee recognition practices and 49% with growth and development opportunities offered by their organizations.

Taking a closer look at the statistics on trust, about one third of respondents say their employers are not always honest and truthful, and nearly a quarter say they don’t trust their employers. Interestingly though, this lack of trust does not necessarily correlate to feelings of unfair or bad working environments. The survey found that 64% of employed adults feel that their organization treats them fairly, despite that only 52% believe their employer is open and upfront with them. Does this mean as an organization you can cultivate fair and honest practices without any transparency? Does this mean that leaders get a pass on being trustworthy as long as they provide safe working environments? These are interesting data to be sure. But perhaps the bigger question is how productive are employees who don’t trust their leaders? What levels of discretionary effort and personal development will employees expend who feel physically safe but don’t trust their leaders? As a leader, the question I would ask is “how long can I rely on an employee population that doesn’t me?”

APA Center for Organizational Excellence April 2014
The APA’s findings come after surveying 1,562 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S. and who are employed full time, part time, or self-employed.

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Filed under American Psychological Association, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Managerial Effectiveness, Rewards & Recognition, Worplace Trust

The Trustworthy Leader

Data Point Tuesday
More Mindfulness for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and many of us have been relishing the traditional cheer, treats, gifts and parties that accompany this time of year. It’s likely we’ve been reflecting on, and giving thanks for the joy in our lives, our family, friends and loved ones; or maybe we’ve been getting into the holiday spirit by donating to or helping out at our favorite philanthropic organizations. These are effective trustworthy leader practices to embrace during the holidays, and practices that, realistically, we should attempt to embrace year-round! For me, a specific practice comes to mind that we should give some serious extra “oomph” to during the holidays – mindfulness.

While practicing increased mindfulness during the holidays can be helpful for everyone, it’s an especially great practice for business and HR leaders. With so much focus on holiday celebrations and cheer, it can be easy to miss that for some of our colleagues the holidays prove to be the most stressful or difficult time of year. According to statistics from a poll by the American Psychological Association, 69% of people feel increased stress during the holidays from a perceived lack of time, 69% feel increased stress from a perceived lack of money, and 51% of respondents also experienced stress during the holidays from the perceived pressure to buy and give gifts. While financial worry seems an obvious stressor during the holidays, there are other stresses that the holiday season can amplify, such as feelings of loneliness or sadness (especially for those who may not have a strong support system or close-knit family). And during a time of year when we celebrate family and loved ones, it can be particularly difficult for those who have experienced loss.

Keeping this in mind, aim for increased mindfulness and awareness in your workplace this holiday season. Consider checking in with employees more frequently, whether it’s with a phone call, email, or an in-person visit. As we all know, sometimes something as simple as asking “how are you doing?” can brighten a day. Also consider making sure lines of communication are extra clear. It’s important to remember that no matter how someone may appear, we can never assume what is going on in their life. If you’re willing to help or have tools and resources and available for employees in need, make this known.  Reminding employees that their Employee Assistance Programs are easily accessible could encourage those who need support to seek it out. Asking for assistance can be difficult or feel shameful, and knowing that someone is willing to help could mean the difference between obtaining assistance, and suffering in silence.

Though “tis the season,” we’re not necessarily exempt from stress, and the holidays may even be amplifying worry. Perhaps it’s feeling a little anxiety about what the final year-end financial results will look like, or that the 2014 budget isn’t as perfect as we’d like, maybe it’s serious financial stress, or maybe there’s no stress at all. Whatever the case may be, work to be the true trustworthy leader who brings an increased mindfulness to your colleagues, your friends and family, and those around you this holiday season.

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Filed under American Psychological Association, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, holiday