Liar, liar, pants on fire

It’s been an interesting week for this Working Girl. We’ve had some savage press coverage about our building (apparently any Council worker should consider themselves lucky to be working in a leaking shed rather than an actual office) and I’ve buggered my neck in my sleep. So I’m dipping back into something I stumbled across a while ago on one of my favourite topics: trust.

Badenock & Clark have found that a third of Gen Y (that’s anyone below the age of 30) don’t trust anything that their employer says. Another quarter say that they only trust some things.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised it’s that high.

Lawyers appear to be the most sceptical, and to my great surprise, a quarter of sales and marketing people (to which group I belong) completely trust what their employer says.

My theory is that sales and marketing people are so used to hyping up what their employers do that they end up believing in the hype. It did surprise me. Having worked in internal comms for five years or so I’ve learned not to trust a bloody word I get told and instead to go and ask the few people I can rely on (some friendly directors, some sharp PAs) what really is going on.

Which is ironic seeing as I spend most of my time trying to get people on message. In my defense, I try to tell people things that I know to be true and attempted to stop my spinning days once I left media relations. Actually, I didn’t spin then either.

Perhaps I’m not very good at communications.

But I’m very aware that what I get told, what I get told to tell staff and what really is going on are all three different things. I’m not saying that the stories of ‘Patricia Johns yesterday retired after 50 years service’ are untrue, but perhaps you may want to hold your horses on celebrating when they say that they will only look at redundancies as a last resort.

It’s a shame. Employers (or at least, my current and my previous employers) are of the opinion that they need to hide things from staff because otherwise morale will dip. What they don’t realise is that it’s hard to commit to someone that you know is lying. It’s hard to see a future when someone is always letting you down. Thinking of employees in terms of romantic partners often puts things in perspective, and in both situations, you are more likely to trust, to put up with bad situations, to go with the flow and try for a long-term thing, if the other person is honest with you.

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