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Happy, Loyal Employees Need to Feel Trusted at Work

Happy, Loyal Employees Need to Feel Trusted at Work
Credit: djile/Shutterstock

What's the secret to employee happiness and retention? According to new research, it's as simple as trusting your team members.

A study from PayScale revealed that the more employees feel like their bosses trust them, the happier they are and the less likely they are to look for a new job.

The research found that 72 percent of workers who are able to act and make decisions on their own said they are satisfied in their jobs. Just 26 percent of employees who aren't able to anything without being told first said they are similarly happy

In addition, just 54 percent of workers who are trusted by their employers said they plan to look for new jobs within the next six months. Conversely, 76 percent of those whose bosses don't have any confidence in them to act on their own said they expect to pursue new jobs in the coming months.

The research reinforces a number of key organizational issues regarding job satisfaction and loyalty, said Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics and lead economist for PayScale.

"In all environments — professional and personal — trust is a required element for the creation of productive relationships," Bardaro said in a statement. "This report shows manager trust is a crucial ingredient when it comes to ensuring engaged and devoted employees."

The good news is that nearly 85 percent of U.S. employees said their managers trust them to act and make decisions in some capacity, with just 1 percent saying their bosses do not trust them to do anything at all until they are told what to do. [See Related Story: Is Your Boss's Trust a Blessing or a Curse?]

Experience and salary appear to correlate with how much employees are trusted by their supervisors. The study found that 85 percent of those with annual incomes of more than $160,000 said they have managers who fully trust them, while only 63 percent of workers who make less than $19,000 said they have similar relationships with their bosses.

Not surprisingly, the more experience employees have, the more their supervisors are likely to trust them. Just 59 percent of those who have been working less than two years said their managers trust them, compared to 76 percent of workers with more than 10 years of experience.

The study's authors said the research has implications for both employees and employers.

"For workers, build that trust with your manager; it'll lead to happiness at work and potentially a higher salary," the study's authors wrote. "Employers, if you want to keep your employees, trust them. They'll be more likely to be happy in their job and less likely to leave for another one."

The study was based on surveys of 54,827 U.S. employees.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.