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Researchers find workplace trust is key to pay satisfaction


Dr Wen Wang‌Using data from the British Workplace Employment Relations Survey taken both at the height of the UK’s economic boom, in 2004, and at the depth of its recession, in 2011

By looking at how much each employee trusted the managers of the  company they worked for, researchers found that those who  consider that managers kept their promises and treated workers fairly are less affected by pay cut in terms of their overall job satisfaction.

They also found that this effect was more marked during the recession than in previous times of economic growth.

The study was led by Dr Wen Wang, lecturer in economics at the University of Wolverhampton’s Business School, along with Professor Pervaiz Ahmed, and involved more than 15,000 employees from over 1,000 companies in the UK via the Workplace Employment Relations Survey taken by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills every six years since 1980.

At each company, at least ten employees responded to the survey which include a series of questions, gauging to what extent workers felt managers could be relied on to keep promises, act sincerely in attempting to understand employees’ views and deal honestly and fairly with workers.

Senior HR managers were interviewed separately to assess their workplace performance, and then each employee’s response was matched up with the HR manager’s perception of the workplace performance.

Those workers who felt managers were to be trusted reported that dissatisfaction with their salary did not affect how satisfied they were overall with their jobs.

Dr Wen Wang said: “This research indicates trust at workplace has its pecuniary value, which is very importance during recession when firms have to conduct pay cut or freeze to deal with financial stress.  

“A pay cut at a high trust workplace has no effect on labour productivity and the quality of work produced during recession. High trust in management can link, through job satisfaction, to reduced sick leave - which reportedly cost the UK economies £12.2 billion in 2004 - and staff turnover rate during economic boom.”


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Date Issued: Thursday, February 13 2014

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