Do Employees Trust their Employer? (And Does this Matter?) [Study]

May 1, 2014

Despite the rebound in the U.S. economy and an improving job market, nearly 1 in 4 employees say they don’t trust their employer. And, only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them. How important is trust to on-the-job satisfaction, and what does this mean for productivity and employee engagement?

The American Psychological Association's (APA's) newly released 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey assessed employees' attitudes toward their employer and asks questions about the role trust plays in employee productivity and satisfaction.

The online survey of 1,562 employees found that while nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees feel their organization treats them fairly, 1 in 3 reported that their employer is not always honest and truthful with them.

While the APA survey identifies a significant lack of trust of employers by employees, the survey also finds most employees feel they are treated fairly at work and are fairly happy overall with the working conditions. According to the APA, one answer to the lack of trust is recent recession-related layoffs.


Trends and Tips for HR

Here are key trends from the survey, and tips for HR.

  • Employees are Looking for Growth Opportunities: Although a majority of workers reported being satisfied with their job overall, less than half said that they are satisfied with the growth and development opportunities (49 percent) and employee recognition practices (47 percent) where they work.

  • Employees are on the Move: More than a quarter (27 percent) of U.S. workers said they intend to seek new employment in the next year.

  • Employees Feeling Valued = Productivity: The survey found that employees who feel valued by their employer are more likely to be engaged in their work. Employees who feel valued were significantly more likely to report having high levels of energy, being strongly involved in their work and feeling happily engrossed in what they do. Additionally, those who felt valued by their employer were more likely to report being satisfied with their job (92% of those who felt valued versus 29% of those who do not) and to say they are motivated to do their best (91% versus 37%) and to recommend their employer to others (85% versus 15%). Employees who felt valued were also less likely to say they feel stressed out during the work day (25% versus 56% of those who do not feel valued) and more likely to report being in good psychological health (89% versus 69% of those who do not feel valued).

  • Employees Stressed About Pay, Lack of Growth: Nearly one-third (31%) report typically feeling tense or stressed out during the workday. Why? The top reasons were low pay (51% say that it is a significant source of stress) and lack of opportunity for growth and advancement (44%). Unclear job expectations, job insecurity, and long hours were also among the top five most frequently cited sources of work stress.

  • The Gender Gap: The gender pay gap may also be at play, with employed women being less likely than employed men to report that they receive adequate monetary compensation (42% of women versus 54% of men). 

The survey was conducted online among 1,562 U.S. workers from January 28 to February 4, 2014. Source: APA.

Does lack of employee trust matter to productivity and employee retention? Join the discussion.

The Comprehensive Guide to the Small Business HRA 

Learn how an HRA works for employers in our latest webinar
Watch the recording today, and learn how an HRA can help your organization.
meeting_wide-1 CTA_purp_R