Fewer than one in five employees are willing to recommend their employer as a good place to work while just half trust what their senior leaders say.
The damning results also revealed a disconnect between how well managers believe they perform and their subordinates’ reports.
More than 3,000 employees were surveyed by Opinium for Lansons’ Britian at Work report and just half (52%) said they felt valued by their boss.
The research found that 81% of employees would not recommend their current workplace to new recruits – half (49%) said they would actively discourage them while 31% would be ambivalent.
Just 19% would be ambassadors for their workplace by outwardly promoting it.
Presenting the research, Lansons managing director Scott McKenzie noted that employers should be alarmed at the results.
“A simpler way of thinking about it is with that 49%; half the UK workforce would not recommend their existing employer – that is pretty frightening,” he said.
Opinium managing director James Endersby added: “You can see a huge problem. There are a significant number of detractors – those that are not necessarily going to recommend their workplace as a place to work. As a result there is a net promoter score of -30, which is pretty poor.”
The results clash somewhat with those about pride in their organisation, where half (52%) said they were proud of where they worked, 15% were not.
Other measures of loyalty were more mixed, with two thirds (62%) expecting to work for the same employer in 12 months’ time compared to 13% who did not.
However, more than a third (36%) would leave tomorrow if they had another job offer (35% would not) and 31% said they would probably look for a new job this year (42% were happy to stay).
Similar numbers said they did not (33%) and did (42%) feel great loyalty to the organisation.
Senior leadership silence
Senior leaders also received mixed results from the survey.
While 79% of respondents knew who the head of their organisation was, just 49% trusted what their senior leaders said.
Just over half (56%) agreed that senior leaders had set out a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, but one in five (18%) disagreed.
This proves particularly important when put in to the context that 76% of employees had been through at least one significant organizational change within the last two years – almost half of these being an organisational restructure.
Many employees did not feel they were sufficiently supported through such difficult periods – only half (51%) said they were kept well-informed of changes and challenges facing their organisation, and a fifth (20%) said communication regarding significant changes was ineffective.
“Most employees have gone through major change in the last two years,” Lansons’ McKenzie said.
“We’ve seen the importance of communication, something CEOs aren’t doing anywhere near enough and we are strongly suggesting that CEOs need to give that support when there are change programmes going on through the business.”
Line manager capability disconnect
One of the most notable contradictions within the results was that involving line managers self-perception and performance.
The vast majority (92%) of respondents who had at least one person reporting in to them said they had the necessary skills and knowledge to manage people effectively.
However, 39% of the group had not received any form of management training, and only half (53%) were assessed on their people management skills before being appointed to their role.
Against this, 34% of employees admitted they needed more support from their manager, while several other results were good but not great, including:
- My manager regularly monitors my performances and discusses it with me – 51% agreed, 24% disagreed;
- My manager does not communicate openly and honestly with me – 32% agreed, 44% disagreed;
- My manager is a good role model for me – 47% agreed, 24% disagreed;
- My manager is committed to helping me develop in my career – 46% agreed, 24% disagreed;
- My manager cares how satisfied I am in my job – 52% agreed, 23% disagreed;
- My manger does a lot of telling but not much listening – 35% agreed, 40% disagreed.
“We feel this is one of the key findings to the study – where 90% of managers say they are good at what they do, but that’s not what the employees think,” said McKenzie.
“Worse than that, they’re not being trained – so clearly there’s a disconnect where managers think they are in terms of competencies and where employees do. Clearly that needs to be addressed and we need to see greater investment in training and with the skills that managers need to be effective when managing people.
“And also there’s a recruitment perspective – have organisations got the right managers with the right skill sets to manage people?” he added.
Mental health in the workplace is already a growing priority, however the severity of the issue workplace was a surprisingly even worse than expected.
A quarter (24%) of UK employees had taken time off in the last 12 months for stress-related reasons, and many felt unsupported.
Less than half (45%) said their organisation was supportive of those with mental health problems (basically unchanged from 44% last year), and more worryingly, one in six (14%) claimed their organisation was actively unsupportive in this area.
McKenzie concluded: “With the sheer number of stress related illnesses its clear the employers need to do more to manage it.”