Workers generally trust HR

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
December 10, 2014, 7:46 PM GMT+0

Workers generally trust their HR departments with 60% giving positive marks for trust; 22% gave top marks on a zero-to-ten scale. Four in ten workers (40%), however, don’t trust their HR department.

There seems to be a far greater degree of trust between employees and their managers, with 77% overall trusting their boss. Managers overwhelmingly trust their employees with 95% of SME business managers saying that they trust their staff. Managers do, however, overestimate the degree of trust in the other direction, with 94% of SME managers thinking that they are trusted by their own staff.

Although the vast majority (76%) of workers have never contacted their HR department, the other 24% have made one or more complaints or suggestions:

  • 12% have complained about a co-worker
  • 10% have complained about something work related (e.g. salary/duties etc)
  • 7% have discussed non-work related private matters (e.g. health, finances, family)

Workers reaction to HR intervention varies considerably depending on the nature of the discussion.

Mostly employees were extremely comfortable with how HR departments dealt with non-work related issues like health or finances. More than three quarters (78%) of those who had contacted HR about a personal matter thought that HR had dealt with it well (39% said really well). This compares to only 19% who thought the interactions went badly.

Complaints about work related issues, like salary or areas of responsibility, also went well but not so positively as the personal issues. Over half of workers who had discussed a work related issue (54%) thought that the discussion had gone well compared to 40% who thought it had gone badly.

Those most thorny of complaints – co-worker grievances - were on balance negative. Of those workers who had complained about a co-worker less than half (46%) thought that HR had managed the situation well compared to 49% who thought they had done poorly. Well over a third (37%) thought that HR managed the situation very badly.

How well or badly do you think the HR department dealt with each situation?

Base: US Working adults

Perhaps surprisingly 63% of workers claim to have read their employee handbook. Another 11% haven’t read it through, but they know where to find it.

For further information about Omnibus results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus services, please email

Find the full results here for employees and here for SME decision makers

Image courtesy of Press Association

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