high cost - t h Q u g IDEA The High Cost of Lost Trust When...

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t h Q u g IDE A The High Cost of Lost Trust When employees doubt a manager's integrity, the probiem can show up on the bottom iine. by Tony Simons The notion that behavioral integrity is important should be common sense: Align your words and actions in a way employees see. Keep your promises. It seems simple. But if it's so simple, why is it so rarely observed? Everyone knows that leaders have to "walk the talk," right? Think of the manager who hangs "Customers Come First" placards in every de- partment and a month later cuts the customer service staff. He may have a good reason forthe layofTs-indeed.he may have had nochoice-but he has undermined his staff's trust, and there will be a price to pay. But what's the real cost? Clearly it will be ex- tracted in hard-to-measure ways: Staffers may be less engaged in their work, less receptive to new ideas, less willing to follow the leader on the next offensive. Surprisingly, though, no one has directly measured the impact of walking the talk on the bottom line. A colleague, Judi McLean Parks, and I set out to do just that. We hypothesized that when employees sense an inconsistency between what their bosses say and do, it triggers a cascade of effects, depressing employees'trust, commitment, and willingness to go the extra mile. These effects, we reasoned, would reduce customer satisfaction and in- crease employee turnover, harming profitability. To measure this expected chain reaction in a competitive service market, we surveyed more than 6,500 employees at 76 U.S. and Canadian Holiday Inn hotels. We provided questionnaires in English,Spanish,Chinese,Creoie French,and Vietnamese and administered oral surveys to roughly 500 illiterate employees. We asked workers to rank, on a five-point scale, how closely their managers'words and actions were aligned-what we call the managers' behai/loral /ntegf/ty-by evaluating statements such as "My
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This note was uploaded on 10/09/2009 for the course H ADM 141 at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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high cost - t h Q u g IDEA The High Cost of Lost Trust When...

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