Nearly half of UK employees (49 percent) have lied at work, with reasons for doing so being to avoid getting into trouble (44 percent) and to hide mistakes (34 percent). This is according to a survey* of over 1,000 UK employees by Glassdoor, the leading platform for insights into jobs and companies. However, the survey found that some employees, rather than lying for their own personal gain, have lied in order not to stand out: forty percent of employees who have lied at work have done so because it is easier to agree with the majority, and almost one quarter (24 percent) because their boss or colleagues don’t like to hear diverse opinions. A further 17 percent say they have lied because they do not like giving honest feedback to colleagues.
When is lying acceptable? With 39 percent of those surveyed saying lying is commonplace where they work, there is clearly a wide range of motivations for doing so. According to the survey, only 22 percent of employees say that lying at work is acceptable, but over two thirds (69 percent) say that telling a “white lie” at work to spare someone’s feelings is not problematic. Furthermore, three quarters (75 percent) of employees believe that saying what you really think at work can get you into trouble, and 56 percent say they hide their true feelings at work.
“Trustworthiness, integrity and good judgement are clearly all attributes that every employer would naturally look for in its employees”, said Joe Wiggins, EMEA Director at Glassdoor. “So it is concerning that such a large proportion of UK employees admit to having lied at work, especially if the reason is to cover up mistakes. But it also begs the question: are enough employers encouraging an environment where people feel comfortable with transparency? If there is a culture of peer pressure or an environment where diversity of thought is not valued and nurtured, this leads to people masking their true feelings, which could lead to more systemic deceptions as well as bias.”
Authenticity At Work
In terms of authenticity, three quarters (75 percent) of employees value authenticity at work, but only 54 percent say their employer values authenticity amongst employees. However, the benefits of authenticity are clear: 72 percent of employees say authenticity at work creates a strong culture and 77 percent say authenticity builds better relationships with colleagues and customers. But only half (51 percent) of those surveyed believe their CEO and senior leaders are authentic.
Joe Wiggins adds: “Authenticity is one of the key attributes of leadership. If authenticity is lacking, then it sets the tone for the wrong type of corporate culture.”
Glassdoor and Transparency
Glassdoor believes in the positive power of transparency and itself has recently adopted a more radical approach to transparency, including publicly releasing its compensation philosophy and the results of its internal employee satisfaction survey. Glassdoor has also published its Diversity & Inclusion Transparency Report with information about its employee population by race, gender, leadership, and tech and non-tech roles on an annual basis. Glassdoor in addition is making product investments to drive workplace transparency.
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