Are you constantly checking and rechecking the work completed by your employees? Does your boss often say phrases like, “it’s my way or the highway” or “that’s not the way you should do it”? Have you noticed your staff members watching their backs or withholding information from their coworkers? Do people consistently give you instructions that are contradictory? If so, your organization is suffering from a lack of workplace trust.
Building trust in an organization is no easy feat. Time, dedication and care are essential for keeping trust nurtured and sustained. Trust is a fundamental value that all companies should practice because it improves almost every business facet, including retention, morale, communication, customer service and productivity. Employers that focus on trust exhibit confidence in the decisions their workers make, have more collaborative workflows and keep employee motivation high.
Because trust starts at the top, ensure that management is included in your efforts to improve trust at your organization. Employees will quickly follow suit when management is leading the way. Incorporate the tips below into your workplace processes and see the level of trust increase significantly.
1. Establish Values
Use your company’s mission and values extensively. All employees should be aware of what they are, and they should all strive to uphold them. Revisit your mission and values during staff meetings and post them in different areas in your workplace. Your business changes over time, so make sure to continually review, revise and align your mission and values with the business results you want to produce and the employer brand you want to exude. Ask for input from your staff members when reviewing and revising.
2. Communicate Openly
Being transparent in your business practices will gain you the trust of your employees. Don’t disseminate information to only a privileged few (unless it’s confidential) because outcries of favoritism will inevitably ensue. Instead, frequently share information with all staff members. Employees don’t like being in the dark, and they will become more engaged the more you communicate openly with them. Additionally, don’t shy away from telling staff members bad news. Even though the news may not be desirable, they will respect the fact that you gave them the truth.
3. Respect all Employees
Just like trust, respect is earned. You can’t expect your team members to follow your lead if you don’t respect them or the contributions they make to your organization. There are a number of ways in which you can show your employees that you respect them. Don’t micromanage them and obsessively recheck over their projects. Give them clear expectations and autonomy, and they will produce good work. Show them that you are interested in their lives by getting to know them. This can include learning their children’s names or the sports team they follow. Ask for their opinions on business initiatives, and stay informed about their personal short-term and long-term goals. No matter if they are full-time, part-time or temporary employees, recognize the work they perform by thanking and praising them often. Trust is easier to maintain when each of your team members feels valued and supported by the company.
4. Be Human
Too many managers want to appear perfect, but the ones who resonate best with their employees acknowledge their mistakes and confess when they don’t know an answer. Yes, admitting imperfection will make you more vulnerable, but it will make you more human and that’s a characteristic that employees want in their managers. Let your team members know that mistakes can happen, but they must make a commitment to learn from them. Another way to show empathy is to respect your employees’ work/life balance. Unless they give you a reason to doubt them, trust that they will complete their assignments, and allow them to enjoy their lives outside of work. Be loyal to your employees and they will reciprocate.
You can’t establish workplace trust overnight, but you can destroy it in a matter of seconds. A continuous effort to show employees the importance of trust is necessary to keep it alive at your organization. Integrate trust in your values, performance appraisals, onboarding practices and other workplace activities. Companies that rate trust highly are more successful than companies that don’t. For more information on building trust at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.
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