Fewer Than Half of Employees in Europe Feel Trusted at WorkJanuary 7, 2021
A new survey on employees in Europe finds that fewer than half feel they are trusted at work.
- Trust helps employees innovate and feel engaged and brings out the best in employee teams.
- Team cohesion to promote trust should be focus for leaders and organizations.
Zurich, 7 January 2021 – A new survey from Catalyst reveals that only 46% of employees in Europe report often or always being trusted at work. This experience of being trusted is consequential; as the data shows, when managers lead more inclusively, experiences of trust increase, and organizations as well as employees benefit.
Moreover, the study shows that as teams become more cohesive, employees experience higher levels of trust, which, in turn, has a positive influence on innovation and engagement, and teams also become better at problem-solving.
In the survey of more than 1,700 full-time employees in five countries in Europe—United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and France—respondents indicated that having opportunities to contribute to organizational goals and being invited by colleagues to participate in decision-making are the most critical features of being trusted.
The United Kingdom have the highest levels of feeling trusted often or always at work (50%), followed by the Netherlands (48%), Sweden (48%), Germany (39%), and France (36%).
“For all of these countries, only half or fewer than half of employees experience being trusted at work. Employers need to pay attention to this phenomenon and act to create trust as part of an inclusive work culture within organizations.” said Emily Shaffer, report author and a director in Catalyst’s Research department.
The study, the second part of the Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership series, also found:
- Forty-three percent of women experience trust often or always at their organizations, compared with 49% of men.
- Thirty-six percent of employees in non-management positions—compared with 54% of those in management positions—report that they often or always experience being trusted at work.
- Seventy-two percent of employees report experiencing a high degree of trust when their team is more cohesive, but only 25% experience the same levels of trust when their team is less cohesive.
“It should be concerning to leaders that over half of employees do not feel a sense of trust at work, particularly when we found that this motivates employees to do their best work,” said Allyson Zimmermann, Catalyst Executive Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa. “Trust needs to be shown in action, and we hope this data helps corporate leaders in Europe lead inclusively and promote trust as part of their organizational cultures.”
Survey participants were employed in a wide range of functions, industries, and ranks within their organizations.
Learn more and download the study.
Catalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership—because progress for women is progress for everyone.
Naomi R. Patton
Vice President, Media & Public Relations
Europe Communications Consultant