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Correcting trust and transparency issues top the list of steps companies are taking to prepare for staff departures that are anticipated to accompany the strengthening economy.

More than 30 percent of Americans with jobs say they will be looking for new opportunities when the economy improves, according to the recent Deloitte LLP 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey. Of those, 48 percent say that one reason for leaving is that they've lost trust in their employer because of decisions made over the last two years. A lack of transparency in business decisions and questions about business ethics have contributed to that loss of trust.

Executives get the picture. In fact, 65 percent say that diminished trust will drive turnover when job opportunities return as the economy expands. To build trust, 92 percent of executives are relying on increased transparency in their communications, yet only 32 percent of employees say that's the most important tactic. For instance, half of executives say social networking builds trust, but 40 percent say their company blocks access to social networking sites from work. In addition, 32 percent of employees don't use social networks for work, for fear it will negatively affect their careers - and 62 percent don't want to be social networking "friends" with their managers.

Work/life balance remains an important element in employee loyalty, as recognized by nearly 80 percent of executives. While employees say more is demanded of them these days, 72 percent of them actually gave their employers good marks for supporting personal needs outside of work.

The Bottom Line

Deloitte says leaders should foster values-based cultures by truly setting the tone at the top. Leaders need to be clear and decisive, and also help make employees' expectations realistic about marketplace challenges and conditions.

The potential "resume tsunami" increases the urgency of examining the erosion of trust in some companies. The best solution is often to be honest about mistakes, and set about proving that you will both say what you do, and do what you say.


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