Amid COVID-19 pandemic, employees have low trust in leadership to navigate through crisis

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

Trust is in short supply these days, and there’s been no lack of skepticism during the COVID-19 crisis. With three-quarters of Americans (and counting) ordered to stay home to control the spread of the contagion, only 32 percent of U.S. employees say that their organization has trusted leaders and managers to navigate the crisis, while less than half (45 percent) say that their organizations have moved quickly to adapt to changing realities, according to a new national poll by management solutions firm Eagle Hill Consulting.

Few workers (24 percent) say that their organization has a culture that fosters innovation and collaboration to deal with this global pandemic, and only 35 percent say their organization has the resilience to withstand the crisis.

Companies and governments were quick to move employees to teleworking. Forty-nine percent of U.S. employees say their company is increasing remote work in light of COVID-19. But only about half (51 percent) of U.S. employees say their organization has the technology, tools and training needed to transition to a work from home situation.

Coronavirus - road sign information message

This new research finds that employees are pessimistic about the coronavirus crisis on several fronts:

  • More than half (55 percent) are worried about their job security.
  • Only 39 percent of workers believe their employer is proactive in addressing health concerns of employees.
  • Some 31 percent indicate that their employer is proactive in addressing concerns about the economic health of the organization.
  • Only 27 percent say their organizations are providing customers with regular updates, while 50 percent of employees indicate that their organization is providing regular updates.

Global epidemics and economic impact

“The coronavirus global pandemic has us in unchartered territory with no end in sight, and that is creating perhaps one of the most stressful workforce situations in U.S. history for employers and employees,” says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting, in a news release. “In just a matter of days, we’ve gone from employers struggling to find and keep employees, to deserted offices and dire job loss forecasts.

“Culture is what holds an organization together, so it’s never been more critical to lean hard into culture during these tough times to build a sense of community and support among the workforce,” she said. “If employers can help fill the void employees are feeling, that can empower them to overcome the many obstacles on the road ahead,” she said.

Concept of economic recession during the coronavirus crisis, downtrend stock and man with mask background

Jezior explained, “There are strategies employers can deploy to relieve at least some of the stress and help employees not only perform, but come up with innovations to steer through this crisis. This new research indicates that employees need more support as they telework, and they are looking for information and leadership.

“For example, taking time to learn from employees exactly what they need to be successful working from home will pay off. While capital outlays on equipment may be difficult, employers can schedule trainings on how to use technologies like video conferencing or chat tools,” she said. “Over communicating is another approach that is key for fostering trust and collaboration—providing forums for honest conversations about teleworking, regular updates on the state of the business, and even encouraging online social interactions like coffees or celebrations,” Jezior said.

The 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Workplace Impact Survey was conducted online by Ipsos from March 17-19, 2020. The online survey included 1,032 respondents from a random sample of employees across the United States. The survey polled respondents on COVID-19 and its potential impact on their work experience and environment.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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