- 63% believe their employers are using the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty as an excuse to trim down their organizations
- 61% believe their employers are using workplace downsizing during the pandemic to transition to a more automated workforce
- 52% believe their employers are leaning toward relocating their employees and organizations because of COVID-19
The numbers might shock you initially. However, consider for a moment the abysmal employee engagement scores at many organizations before the COVID pandemic. It's no wonder, then, that we see many employees with such perceptions about their employers' intentions during the crisis.
Leaders need to ask themselves: Why don't our employees trust me? They have to be honest with themselves. If they can't confront the truth, or don't seem to understand the reasons, leaders must find confidantes who will tell them the unvarnished truth. Too often, I hear leaders make excuses. They blame employees for holding misperceptions. I think that's a misguided reaction, and frankly, one that is potentially very harmful to the organization in the long run. Employees believe what they believe. Perhaps their beliefs aren't true, but leaders must ask themselves: WHY do they hold these beliefs? Don't blame the employees. Fix the situation. Get to the root of why employees have come to be so skeptical and cynical about top leadership's intentions. In my view, leaders should ask themselves three questions:
- What did I do in the past that caused an erosion of trust in the organization?
- When did my actions not match my words in the past?
- Have I acted in ways that employees might perceive as unfair or unjust? Why did they come to see my actions in that way?