How much do you trust your employees?

With the festive season almost upon us, ask yourself if you need to put employee expenses under scrutiny.


With the festive season almost upon us, ask yourself if you need to put employee expenses under scrutiny.

How much do you trust your employees?

Not just in the sense of having faith in them to do their job properly with some degree of autonomy. How much trust do you have, in the people you have selected to work for you, to not defraud your business?

According to a recent study by OnePoll, a quarter of employees reckon it is OK to fiddle work expenses, because they are underpaid and undervalued.

Research carried out among 2,000 workers finds 15.6 per cent regularly claim for things which aren’t strictly 100 per cent work-related. Some 15 per cent think it’s OK because ‘everyone does it’ and 12 per cent believe ‘it’s human nature to try and get a bit more’.

Few really good bosses would begrudge little perks here and there for their respected members of staff. Perhaps some coffee and cake before a business meeting, or even the £30 taxi ride that didn’t strictly happen on company time. Part of being a good employer is having the sort of relationship with your staff that engenders two-way trust. An implicit agreement that everyone who drives business is entitled to a few privileges.

However, when respondents to surveys say they feel undervalued, suddenly there exists a rather nasty working environment in which trust is misplaced. Here, the coffee and cake isn’t so much a self-imposed reward for endeavour as an angry V-sign to an employer seen as undervaluing his staff. This isn’t a productive base for future employee relations.

Recession prompted pay freezes, longer working hours and a difficult job market, and employees are feeling the pinch. In recent years, episodes such as the MP expense scandal and corruption in the banking sector may well have sullied the conscience of the everyday employed, turning many into cynics of the mindset that they’re just taking what they deserve, and that everyone’s at it.

With the festive season almost upon us, the line between business meeting and riotous party can often become dangerously blurred. It may be worth setting out, before the fun starts, a position of trust which will make everyone feel the expenses they claim are a function of reward rather than spite.

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