Trust is bedrock to the success of every company. Trust is not limited simply to the relationship between a company and its customers; it also relates to the organization and the people within it. A culture and environment of trust enable your employees to feel safe and secure at work, thereby making them more engaged, and bringing creativity and passion to the forefront.
Every employee wants to be treated with respect and offered a modicum of freedom to execute the tasks assigned to them. In the simplest terms, trust is an investment that produces the best and longest returns for any organization.
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Before building trust with your employees, it’s important to understand the basics of trust.
- Having the confidence and sense of security when interacting with someone
- Being able to predict actions and responses
- Being able to rely or depend on someone
- Establishing and expanding credibility over time
Trust in an organization means that your employees enjoy a culture of honesty, psychological safety, and mutual respect. It’s about internalizing the idea that an organization is a team of interconnected people who must move together in order to thrive and succeed.
Ways to Build Trust with Your Employees
According to Harvard Business Review, employees working in high-trust organizations report 74% less stress than employees in more unstable environments. They have 106% more energy/motivation at work and feel 50% more productive.
Consequently, they take, 13% fewer sick days, and are 76% more engaged. They also report being more satisfied with their work-life balance and face 40% less burnout than their counterparts.
Here are some ways leaders can build trust with their employees:
Follow Through on Statements and Claims
Mistrust manifests when managers don’t follow through on promises or obligations. Understandably, certain uncontrollable circumstances can keep one from fulfilling a commitment. However, if there’s a pattern of unfulfilled commitments, a leader might inadvertently manifest the suspicion among his personnel that they aren’t trusted.
Following through and meeting employee expectations necessarily requires a great deal of discipline. As a best practice, always maintain consistency between words and actions. When you cannot, communication is key.
When expectations are established through mutually-agreeable terms, leaders and employees alike are empowered to grow and sustain the trust between them.
Be the First One to Offer Trust
The best approach to finding out if you can trust someone is to take a leap of faith and trust them. In short, if you want your employees to trust you, you must trust them first.
An easy way to extend trust is to give an employee a task and empower him or her to complete it at their own pace. If your employees believe you have their best interests at heart, they will be happy to deliver great results on your behalf!
Miscommunication can easily damage trust. When communicating, always be clear and concise. Leave no room for misinterpretation. When in doubt, ask questions.
Because communication is a two-way process, give your employees the chance to respond and express their own concerns. You must listen with an open mind – it’s a highly effective way of showing that you care.
Encourage Your Employers to Speak
According to a study, 58% of employees believe they are solely responsible for their professional success over the long term. On the other hand, 63% believe their employers have too much power and control over their professional lives.
When employees feel they are not in control of their careers, they often begin to lose trust in an organization. One way to remedy this downturn is to ensure that all employees have a voice. Give them a say in certain organizational matters. Allow them to speak about certain issues and express themselves without restraint or fear of recrimination.
To reinforce and maintain anything positive, nothing is more valuable than consistency. When trust is routinely absent from any workplace, people are inclined to revert to protecting their own interests, even at the expense of their team.
On the other hand, when consistency is present and everyone is encouraged to communicate openly, team members are empowered to be vocal and outgoing, even beginning to express what they need to hear instead of what you want to hear. They are no longer afraid of your reaction when they’re aware of the safe environment around them.
If you can explain clearly what you are doing and why you are doing it, most of your teammates will be willing to support your initiatives.
Don’t be one of those bosses who insist on secrecy or siloed, hierarchical communication – share whatever is necessary for your people to succeed.
In sum, trust can be cultivated by establishing a clear and concise direction, letting people know what’s expected of them, delegating, and then getting out of their way. Companies with high trust can hold their people accountable without micromanaging them.