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New Zealanders don’t trust their boss

30 November 2004

61 per cent of New Zealanders don’t trust their boss

Alarm bells should be sounding for New Zealand managers, according to the results of the latest SEEK Intelligence survey, which found that it is not poor pay, working hours or stress that is the pet hate of working New Zealanders, but the quality of management.

According to SEEK NZ General Manager, Jude Manuel, while New Zealand workers are generally feeling more positive than they were last year, a lack of confidence in their managers continues to be a significant problem.

“In particular, a lack of trust in management is endemic in New Zealand workplaces. Across all industry sectors, 61 per cent of employees say that management in their organisations do not inspire trust, and 62 per cent believe that management is not open and honest with employees”, she said.

When asked if there is anything they hate about their current job, ‘quality of management’ was nominated by 53 per cent of survey respondents, followed by salary (47 per cent), stress levels (47 per cent) and (a lack of) ‘feedback and appreciation’ (46 per cent).

A staggering 91 per cent also ranked ‘quality of management’ as the most important factor they consider when looking for a new job, ahead of the ‘variety and content of work’, the ‘workplace environment’, and then ‘salary’.

The SEEK Intelligence Survey of Employee Satisfaction and Motivation in New Zealand is now in its second year, and annually collects responses from employed respondents about how they view their work.

“This survey should serve as a fairly significant wake up call to employers. If you’re a manager, the odds are that many of your employees dislike working for you, they don’t trust a lot of what you say and they have plenty of job opportunities available to them elsewhere”, said Jude Manuel.

“This is a critical issue for organisations, because staff retention and satisfaction has become an increasingly important competitive advantage for them.

“We are in the middle of a buoyant jobs market and I anticipate that many organisations will see a higher than normal level of turnover early next year. People tend to spend time over Christmas assessing where they are headed, and with more options available for skilled workers, it’s easier than ever to make a change.

“As quality of management is the factor employees are most interested in regarding their work, managers must also realise that throwing more money around will not in itself encourage employees to stay. Managers who want to keep their staff motivated and attract high performers would be better off focusing on lifting their own performance.

“According to our research, the three things managers most need to improve is following up their words with action, communicating openly and honestly, and better supporting their team,” she said.

Another surprising finding from the survey was that working hours are not as big an issue for employees as many of us believe. Working hours were ranked as only the 11th most important factor when looking for a job, and 43 per cent of survey respondents actually said that they loved their current working hours.

The 2004 survey collated responses from over 2000 employed New Zealand workers, and uncovered significant gains in job confidence compared to 12 months ago.

“We are seeing a significant pick up in job security, with 22 per cent of New Zealand workers saying that they believe their jobs are more secure than they were 12 months ago.

“Relationships with co-workers have also strengthened over the past year. An impressive 62 per cent of the people we surveyed said that they love the people they work with, a further improvement on last year’s figure of 58 per cent.

“New Zealand workers might be skeptical of what’s happening at the senior levels of their organisations, but it seems that they mostly enjoy being part of their team”, she said.


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