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Fewer than half of employees in Europe feel trusted at work

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 organisations 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 organisational 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 organisations,” 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:

  • 43% of women experience trust often or always at their organisations, compared with 49% of men.
  • 36% 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.
  • 72% 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 organisational cultures.”

Survey participants were employed in a wide range of functions, industries, and ranks within their organisations.

Learn more and download the study.

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash.