UK CEOs most unapproachable fueling disengagement

“When CEOs are disconnected from their workforce, employees can be left feeling disengaged”, UK CEOs are the most unapproachable and untrustworthy compared to other countries.

Research from Unit4, a software company’s report ‘Decision Making for the Future Business’, found that UK CEOs are more unapproachable than the world average, with 14 per cent of UK employees feel the top of their company is this way compared to 9 per cent worldwide. Unit4 also states that having disengaged staff can lead to lower productivity.

A tenth (10 per cent) feel their UK CEO is untrustworthy compared to a global average of 8 per cent, as well as 15 per cent believing their CEO is only motivated by money compared to a global average of 11 per cent.

Alarmingly, 5 per cent globally did not even know if their CEO was a man or woman.

Just under half (45 per cent) of UK managers think their CEO does not care about social issues. More than a third (38 per cent) of UK managers said their CEO does not lead the company with integrity and 37 per cent feel they have no vision for the company.

Also, 65 per cent of UK managers compared to a global average of 52 per cent feel their CEOs do not care about the opinion of employees.

Mike Ettling, CEO at Unit4, said:

Today we really have a new board member in companies across the world – the Chief Elusive Officer, the business leader who has not once engaged with their employees or sought to empower them to make decisions that impact the future of their organisation. This must change and it must change fast.”

When CEOs are disconnected from their workforce, employees can be left feeling disengaged which can lead to much lower productivity at work and ultimately impact the bottom-line. A rigid, hierarchical business structure is simply no longer suitable for today’s workforce and CEOs need to change in order to lead more effectively.

This old-fashioned management mindset is no longer fit for today’s business and must be rejected in order to encourage the best asset a company has; its people. Perhaps a way to enable that is through the better use of technology so that employees can feel more engaged and empowered to make those decisions.

Pete Eyre, managing director at Vevox said:

It is increasingly important for senior management to make employees feel valued and listened to at work and focus on building better relationships if they want to lead an engaged workforce. There is currently a clear engagement gap but, if businesses actively start introducing processes and systems that encourage inclusivity and directly address employee feedback and ideas, they stand a good chance at solving this.

If employees felt that management teams would listen to them and take their feedback seriously, many would feel much more confident in suggesting the new ideas they have to offer, whether that be anonymously or face-to-face. Organisations need to look at introducing new measures to enable them to listen and engage with their employees more positively and ensure every employee feels they have a voice within the business.

In order to collect this valuable feedback and show employees that they really are listening, organisations must provide channels that people feel safe using. Being able to offer anonymity is key to this as employees feel more comfortable knowing they don’t face the risk of judgement from bosses or peers. If businesses fail to provide these channels, employees will find other ways to express their feelings, some of which, i.e. through social media, can be public and therefore damaging to the business.

Unit4 conducted this research by speaking to 1,837 managers and non-managers from Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and the USA.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.