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Employees Losing Trust in HR, But All Hope Is Not Lost

A recent study finds that employees are not comfortable turning to human resources for help, but there are ways to help win over skeptical workers. So reports Harvard Business Review.

thumb down 1426814 640The survey by Crucial Learning of 993 employees finds that they would first seek out their manager if they had concerns followed by a co-worker they trust. And if those two avenues did not work, they would try to deal with the issue themselves. “Some HR leaders might be tempted to brush this finding off, arguing that it’s a good thing employees are turning to their managers,” Joseph Grenny and Derek Cullimore write for Harvard Business Review. “But our study shows the preference to talk to a manager says more about how low confidence is in HR than it does about how high trust is in team leaders.”

Grenny is co-founder of Crucial Learning and Cullimore is vice president of people and culture at the firm. Both note that 47% “dont’t feel safe sharing their frustrations with and confiding in their manager either” and are not confident that their manager will stick up for them.

The study also found that 37% view HR as more willing to advocate for their employer rather than the workers. “The top concerns employees felt comfortable sharing with HR were typical policy or compliance issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination, and ethics,” they write. “But when it came to culture or morale concerns such as harmful interpersonal conflicts, how leaders communicate with their teams, and how strategy, vision, and directives are delivered, HR leaders remain in the dark.”

Grenny and Cullimore recommend that HR advocate as a coach, a mentor and a mediator to win the confidence of employees.

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