When it comes to the issue of employee performance in an organisation creating a sense of trust is one of the key factors to be considered. Trust forms the basis of all relationships and interactions. It is just as important in professional relationships as it is in personal ones.
A company that is able to create a strong sense of trust in the workplace is better able to weather the storms throw up by the competition and have a clearer vision of what the company stands for.
Why Is Trust Important In The Workplace?
Successful businesses are built on relationships. Relationships between employers and employees, staff and customers, internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. At the foundation of all relationships is trust. Without each party trusting one another the ability to come to an agreement or consensus on an issue is always going to be compromised.
If a workplace is able to foster a strong sense of trust within their organisation they can see a number of benefits including:
- Increased productivity amonst staff
- Improved morale amongst employees and staff
- The ability to work more effectively as a team, rather than individuals
- Reduce the time to make and discuss key issues as each individual trusts in the judgement and expertise of their colleagues.
How To Build Trust In The Workplace?
Trust is built through actions not words. As a Manager or Leader in an organisation you can’t just say you “trust” a particular employee or team, you need to show that you do through the actions you take on a daily basis.
In addition to the trust you show to your team you must also enable trust to flow between employees, teams and departments. You can help build trust in the workplace by:
- Empowering staff to “own” their day to day responsibilities.
- Allowing teams to make decisions and put together their own proposals that they believe benefit the business.
- Being open and transparent on key decisions/ changes to business process or procedure.
- Refrain from treating anyone or any team more favorably than another. Call out success when it is warranted by don’t anyways focus. the attention on one particular person or team.
Finally you should understand your employees expectations of you. It is easy for a lack of trust to develop when an employee feels as if an employer has unrealistic expectations of them and they don’t believe they are ever able to achieve the objectives set for them.
How To Rebuilt Trust In The Workplace?
Trust between people within an organisation can be lost within an instance. Rebuilding that trust isn’t always an easy process. What this really highlights is how important it is to maintain trust with one another once you have it. If however, you find yourself in a situation where you have lost the trust of your employees how do you regain it?
The most important thing to do in order to rebuild trust is take ownership of the mistake or issue. You need to clearly articulate that you understand why your employees have lost trust in you and acknowledge the mistakes you made.
To make sure this is understood by everyone involved you should communicate clearly and openly with everyone and preferably in person. Essentially you need to take responsibility for mistakes made.
After you have got past the acknowledgement phase you need to show how you are going to rectify the situation and put in processes to ensure it won’t happen again in the future. Some common ways to assist with this process are:
- Creating an open door policy where staff can communicate with you about their concerns without any fear of judgement or retribution.
- Taking proactive action to involve yourself in understanding the issues that led up to the loss of trust between you and your team.
- Seek the counsel or other managers or leaders in the business and have them mediate between the various affected parties.
- Show that you have changed your management or leadership style in wake of these developments. Action always speaks lower than words.
Finally, depending on the level of trust loss or the underlying issue you need to acknowledge that some staff may feel angry or aggreved for some period of time. You may not just be able to say sorry and get straight back to where you were before. Don’t rush the process, give your staff and team time and if you are sincere in your approach eventually you will regain their trust.
Also published on Medium.