Employees reporting confidence in their senior management has dropped to 45 percent, down five percent from two years ago, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a human resource consulting firm.

Employees who believe their companies conduct business with honesty and integrity also declined five percent, from 68 percent to 63 percent.

Watson Wyatt randomly surveyed 12,750 U.S.-based employees.

When employees are treated with respect and empowered on the job, productivity increases significantly, as reflected by the study finding that total returns are three times higher at companies where there is high trust in senior management. Productivity rises when companies implement programs to improve employee morale and reduce stress, according to Circadian Technologies.

Profitability also increases due to the fact that less-stressed, company-friendly employees put more effort into managing costs; make fewer errors causing scrap or rework; have fewer accidents, resulting in lower insurance rates; are absent less; and have fewer health problems, leading to lower healthcare costs, according to Betsy Connolly, bconnolly@circadian.com.