Why don't some employees trust HR?

As a human resources manager at a successful business, sometimes it's a challenge to oversee an employee's personal well-being and performance. At times it can be seem thankless. But a focus on everyone else can blind HR personnel to their own mistakes or apathy. Both are dangerous to the company; they can cause widespread discontent as well as the loss of valuable employees.

"More than 70% of surveyed tech employees said they didn't trust their companies' HR departments."

HR managers must take an objective look at how employees perceive their department. But the process doesn't end there. Companies must subsequently derive actionable takeaways from everything they learn.

Trust issues with HR
Recent research conducted by workplace app developer Blind revealed a high level of HR distrust among employees. Blind's survey of about 12,000 tech workers found that 70 percent or respondents do not trust their employers. Many of the best-known names in the tech sector showed up on the list of the most distrusted corporations, including Intel, eBay, Amazon and Oracle. Only 26 percent said they trusted their employers (and 4 percent said their firms had no HR department).

The knee-jerk reaction would be to assume a defensive posture and dismiss the statistic above for a lot of reasons. Maybe your business isn't in the tech sector, or maybe you work at a small business and not a giant corporation. Even if both are true, this data should still drive you to dig deep and find out exactly why your employees might distrust HR at your company.

Why don't some employees trust HR?What hurts trust in HR most? A history of sexual harassment issues.

Voices looking to be heard
A fair amount of workforce discontent at major companies stems from mishandled harassment cases. According to TechCrunch, sexual harassment is one of the most pervasive fears in the workplace, even as prevalent as the fear of being fired. As a response, workers want to have confidence in their HR leaders, who must do a better job of hearing their voices and acting on their concerns. Multiple accounts of HR ignoring alleged sexual harassment, like those at Microsoft, for example, represent the poor institutional reactions that make employees feel uncomfortable, threatened and distrustful.

Human capital management tools can do a lot to measure employee satisfaction and drive engagement, but only if workers feel they have real incentive to be honest and participate. Don't spring the survey on employees. Instead, have a trusted management figure announce it during a company conference. Be transparent not only about your intentions, but also regarding what you intend to do with the information, and ensure your employees that it will matter and help improve the organization. It may even be worthwhile to enlist a third party for the survey, which will remove distrust from the equation.

Maintaining employee trust is paramount to any company's long-term success. If you've somehow lost it, you need to figure out exactly why, then get it back. More importantly, you must work to sustain an environment of trust so employees never again feel as though they can't believe in your company's core mission or culture.