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Building trust and confidence in difficult times by John Purcell


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Presentation by John Purcell at the Acas national conference 2009 London, UK. (

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Building trust and confidence in difficult times by John Purcell

  1. 1. Building Trust and Confidence in difficult times <ul><li>Acas/CIPD National conference </li></ul><ul><li>Resilience through the recession </li></ul><ul><li>The crucial role of people management and development </li></ul><ul><li>Thursday 11 June 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>John Purcell </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic Academic Adviser </li></ul>
  2. 2. Trust: the essential ingredient <ul><li>Always essential in effective union – management relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>At the heart of the psychological contract: Trust and the delivery of the deal. </li></ul><ul><li>Crucial for employee engagement: trust in senior management, trust that the organisation will support me – and I will reciprocate with discretionary effort. </li></ul><ul><li>Central to good people management by line managers </li></ul>
  3. 3. To trust is to take a risk <ul><li>That what is promised or expected will happen without the need for proof or question of motive. </li></ul><ul><li>That how it happens will be understandable, and be fair. </li></ul><ul><li>That I will be trusted in return </li></ul><ul><li> with timely information, in confidence if need be </li></ul><ul><li> with participation and involvement </li></ul><ul><li> will be treated like an adult. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Confidence <ul><li>Self confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Confident about the future: stability and security </li></ul><ul><li>Confident that my contribution will be recognised. </li></ul><ul><li>Trust and confidence combine as two sides of the same coin and are strongly linked to employee wellbeing and the capacity to contribute. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The corrosive effect of recession. <ul><li>CIPD Employee Outlook: Employee Attitudes and the Recession. </li></ul><ul><li>35% of employees trust their senior managers </li></ul><ul><li>26% agree they are consulted on important decisions </li></ul><ul><li>36% have confidence in their senior managers. </li></ul><ul><li>59% believe information from senior managers about what is happening. </li></ul><ul><li>75% say their organisation has been affected by the recession </li></ul><ul><li>46% in affected organisation report growing stress </li></ul><ul><li>Just under half feel less secure in their job </li></ul><ul><li>Just over a quarter trust their manager less </li></ul>
  6. 6. Black Monday and other horror stories <ul><li>Thin evidence on meaningful consultation and exploration of alternatives, despite the law </li></ul><ul><li>‘ they just came to the offices and handed out the letters’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ we were told we were made redundant by e-mail’ </li></ul><ul><li>Two meetings of staff, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. What did it mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Collapse of confidence, breach of trust, violation of psychological contract, withdrawal of engagement, voluntary resignations. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Is the alternative viable? the case of ‘Welsh plant’ <ul><li>American owned, makes medical equipment, 450 employees, unionised and works council </li></ul><ul><li>‘ offshoring’ to eastern Europe. Doubts about viability of factory </li></ul><ul><li>Very extensive consultation and communication, top management visibility, search for alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>End of agency work, new shift patterns less pay, new production processes, training for all, ‘bumping’, good treatment for those leaving, bonus to stay until end of contract. </li></ul><ul><li>Now only 100 employed </li></ul>
  8. 8. How good are management here at seeking views of employees (% satisfied, very satisfied)
  9. 9. Managers here can be relied upon to keep promises (% satisfied, very satisfied)
  10. 10. Managers here treat employees fairly (% agree, strongly agree)
  11. 11. Satisfaction with level of involvement (% satisfied, very satisfied)
  12. 12. Commitment: I share the values (% agree, strongly agree)
  13. 13. Commitment: I feel proud to tell people where I work (% agree, strongly agree)
  14. 14. Back to the basics in testing times The building blocks of engagement <ul><li>Job satisfaction – sense of achievement, the job itself, job challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Pay level and fair pay </li></ul><ul><li>Trust in management: senior and line </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships between management and employees - climate </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Getting trained – skills for the future, self confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Job security – confidence in the future </li></ul>