Latest study: Trust found to be major factor in employee retention and wellbeing

01 March 2018
  • Majority of employees (53%) identify trust as a primary reason to stay or leave a company 
  • A quarter of employees have left their workplace because of a lack of trust, according to latest research from Bupa UK
  • Study affirms that being in a reliable work environment increases retention, productivity and employee wellbeing, while also promoting a better business culture

Employees in a warehouse

A new study looking at workplace trust and the impact on employee wellbeing reveals that over half (53 per cent) of employees considered it to be a major factor in whether they stayed or left a company. The Bupa research found that nearly a quarter of UK employees (24 per cent) have left their company due to issues around trust.  

It highlights how important it is within the workplace, and also the contribution it makes to the wellbeing of employees and the overall performance of a company.

Although trust is not a tangible workplace benefit, such as salary and bonuses, it is an essential variable in promoting harmony and productivity within an organisation1

With employees putting such importance on trust, and the positive link this has on wellbeing, employers can play to this by providing a range of support at all levels to create an open and inclusive culture.  This could range from access to resilience workshops and mental health training through to financial wellbeing information and knowing ‘your numbers’.  

The research also reveals that employees value trust more than some typical company benefits such as gym membership (62 per cent), company mobile (62 per cent), access to a free canteen (56 per cent) and company car (55 per cent). These results demonstrate the degree to which employees value this reliability and the need for business leaders to take it seriously.

This ability to depend on others not only benefits the business, but also positively impacts the wellbeing of colleagues in the workplace as nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of UK employees said they would feel more motivated if trust was placed in them.  While over a fifth (22 per cent) said it would help them to feel happier and more productive at work (18 per cent). 

With the average price of replacing a colleague at more than £30,0002, employee turnover represents a significant cost to UK businesses. However, the current findings make good reading for business leaders with eight in 10 employees (80 per cent) saying they currently feel trusted by their colleagues, line manager and senior leadership team, rising to 85 per cent amongst those aged 55+.

Mark Allan, Commercial Director, for Bupa UK Insurance said: "Retaining talented people and boosting productivity is a key focus for many employers. As we spend the majority of our time in the workplace, it’s important we work in an environment with a good business culture. Our latest findings pay homage to this – suggesting that good relationships are more likely to boost engagement and influence whether someone stays at a company. 

“Within many businesses across the UK, wellbeing is now a boardroom priority and it’s clear that trust is key to building a healthy business culture – increasing motivation, engagement and colleague retention as well as employees’ wellbeing. This latest research highlights the importance of creating a workplace culture that allows people to thrive and also that businesses are recognising the importance of promoting a trustful workplace.” 

The latest study also provides helpful tips to employers who want to promote trust within the workplace. Bupa’s research reveals that business leaders and managers can promote it through:

  • Praising colleagues when they’ve completed a job (46 per cent) 
  • Letting them get on with tasks independently (41 per cent)
  • Taking interest in their health and wellbeing (39 per cent) 
  • Providing staff with opportunities to progress in their career (33%)




1Brower, H et al (2017), Want your employees to trust you? Show you trust them, accessed 9 October 2017 
2 The Oxford Economics 2014 research into staff turnover
Notes to Editors 
These findings were based on a survey of 2,003 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+), conducted by Opinium on behalf of Bupa UK between 15 and 18 September 2017.   


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