Three Steps to Building Trust in the Workplace

Three Steps to Building Trust in the Workplace

In recent years, a strong emphasis has been placed on creating a positive culture within an organization.  As soon as the hiring process begins, employers question how a candidate fits into the corporate culture.  This culture is often defined by the values and mission of the organization, the setting of clear goals, and the development of a sense of community.  While these initiatives form an essential foundation for culture, they lack a critical element: trust.  Culture won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have trust.

Do you have a culture of trust within your organization?  A Harvard Business Review survey found 58% of employees trust strangers more than their own boss.  This means your employees could trust their Lyft driver more than you.  This is a concerning statistic and should be carefully considered.  Trust is the backbone for employee engagement, confidence, and loyalty.  Alternatively, insufficient trust leads to unreliability, inconsistencies, and increased turnover rates.  A culture of trust builds strong teams that take responsibility for their work, communicate effectively, and are more productive.  Below are three steps you can take to begin developing trust today.


Build Trust Through Action

Are your words consistent with your actions?  As with any relationship, trust takes time and is established by creating a consistent pattern of trust-building behavior.  This is also true of organizational trust.  For example, if your company’s culture emphasizes employee engagement, but you or your leaders constantly push team building activities and training aside to meet business deadlines or goals, you undermine trust.  You are failing to follow through on your values and promises.  It is important not to fall into the habit of overpromising and under-delivering when it comes to your staff.


Keep Your Employees Informed

Show accountability through communication.  Respond as quickly and clearly as possible to your employee’s questions and concerns.  Even if you don’t have all the answers, tell them what you do know.  The more you and your leadership hold back information, the more your employees form false stories in their heads that can lead to insecurity, lack of trust, and reduced performance.  Promoting honest dialogue, listening to your employees’ needs and ideas, and being vulnerable by acknowledging your own mistakes and successes, will go a long way to building trust.


Conduct an Employee Culture Survey

There is a chance you are not aware of the level of trust within your company.  Perhaps this is the first time you’ve considered the idea of trust as a key element of organizational success.  Or maybe you have experienced high turnover or a lack of employee engagement, and realize something has to give.  If any of these are true, consider implementing a quarterly employee survey.  Ask for honest feedback, ideas, and opinions from your employees.  Find out if your staff feels valued and respected.  But don’t stop there. Follow up with meaningful discussions and tangible steps to improve your culture and relationships.

Keep yourself and your leaders accountable and committed to building trust through action.  By creating a safe and transparent environment for your team, your business and employees will thrive.

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