However, IF it was a real fact and suddenly I (a tutor for a first year university course in Western Australia) found myself on the wrong side of the US-Mexican border with a guitar in my hand and some colleagues dancing at my feet, I would be extremely angry that the university never bothered to warn me. At least then I could have memorized the lyrics to La Cucaracha.
According to a 2008 study by Conchie and Burns, employers need to engage in open communication with their staff if they want to retain employee trust. Basically, they need to tell the employees the risks of the job. A lot of trust is lost when employes discover that their bosses have been keeping the dangers of the job a secret (Conchie & Burns, 2008). As any cheating boyfriend will acknowledge, once lost trust is incredibly difficult to gain back again (Concie & Burns, 2008). So the zoo should warn its groundkeepers that carelessly weeding the lion cage might result in their hand being mauled by the lions, and hospitals should tell nursing students that they might get assaulted and abused by members of the general public. Even if the messages are negative, frustrating and unpleasant, communication is still better than leaving the employees …
silence (Concie & Burns, 2008).
How can you trust a company if you have no idea what’s going on?
The article got me thinking. Has there ever been a time when I lost trust in my employer do to a lack of risk communication?
Not really, but if I wake up in Central America, I’ll let you know. My previous employers had the foresight to informed me that unless I want to be blind or dead, methanol is not a drinking alcohol,that before entering the -40 C freezer I needed to ‘snowsuit up’ and that paper cuts are a painful price of a paper filing system. Perhaps it is because I was told these risks beforehand that I still have a large amount of trust in my former bosses.
What about you? Have you ever lost trust in an employer? Maybe you think open communication is not that important. Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
*This statement is completely false and under no circumstances should be reported or remembered as actual fact. It is not based on any reports, statistics, rumors or even heresy, only my overactive imagination.
Conchie, S. M., and C. Burns. 2008. Trust and risk communication in high-risk organizations: a test of principles from social risk research. Risk Analysis 28(1): 141-149.