Every professional relationship needs mutual trust to thrive. If you want to develop your reputation and build a network of reliable people, you need to be trustworthy. Never forget that the success of a company is not solely dependent on one person—it’s always a team effort. Any achievement in a business can be attributed to the contribution of all the people in the workplace.
However, without trust, employees cannot rely on each other. If you’re a business leader, you must take measures to create a company culture where people feel secure and confident. As a manager, you need to learn how to build trust in the workplace.
Why Is Trust So Important in the Workplace?
There is formal research measuring the effect that trust has on a company. Harvard researcher and Founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies Paul J. Zak spent two decades studying the connection between leadership, trust, and organizational performance. According to Zak, employees at companies with high trust experience the following benefits:
● 50% higher productivity
● 106% more energy at work
● 74% less stress
● 76% more engagement
● 13% fewer sick days
● 40% less burnout
● 29% more satisfaction with life
Instead of instilling fear, it’s better to understand what trust in the workplace means to your employees. As a manager, you should build a creative environment and encourage collaboration. This way, employees will always think outside the box and not be afraid to commit mistakes. When there’s fear of being punished, people are less likely to take initiative. On the other hand, taking risks is crucial to innovation.
How to Build Trust in the Workplace
From a survey, PwC learned that 55% of CEOs believe that one of the biggest roadblocks to their organization’s growth is the lack of trust. Despite knowing the importance of trust in the workplace, many managers don’t know how to achieve it. After all, according to an American Psychological Association survey, one in four workers don’t trust their employers.
Building trust has become even more challenging, especially since many people are working from home. Since remote work is likely to stay, organizations must realign their strategies. Thankfully, there are many examples of building trust in the workplace. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones:
Give Employees a Voice
According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer: Employee Experience report, 58% of respondents believe that they are accountable for the success of their career. Even so, 63% feel that their employers can be controlling when it comes to their overall well-being and professional lives. The level of trust in the workplace can be low when people don’t feel like they can control their careers.
To alleviate this problem, managers must allow their employees to speak. Moreover, they should empower people with information and open opportunities for them to take action. When workers feel that they have a voice when it comes to crucial issues, they feel secure that their concerns and needs will be addressed.
As an employer, one of the biggest mistakes you can commit is avoiding two-way communication with your employees. You can send numerous newsletters and emails to your workers, but that won’t do much to foster trust in the workplace.
Don’t Get Defensive
If your employees don’t trust you, you cannot expect them to be loyal to you. Moreover, your workers’ reliance on you will depend on how you respond to problems in the workplace. Sadly, not many employees say that their managers respond constructively to work issues.
When problems arise, you should reach out to your subordinates and ask them how you can help. You should know about their concerns and worries and must be aware of the existence of issues to be able to respond to them constructively.
Avoid getting defensive when a problem presents itself to you. Look at it objectively and allow yourself to come up with various ways to fix it. If an employee approaches you with a concern, listen to them attentively and look at the problem from various perspectives. Sometimes, people simply want a listening ear. So, before you even jump into resolving the issue, give the person a chance to share their concerns.
Create a Transparent Company Culture
How important is openness in a company? Well, IBM discovered the answer when it surveyed over 1,700 CEOs from across 18 industries and 64 countries. With transparency as a key influence in the workplace, 30% of companies with a high-trust company culture tend to outperform their competitors. The study further discussed how today’s successful CEOs intentionally promote transparency and openness in their workplace.
Transparency usually translates as accountability in communication. These are just some of the various ways you can be open with your employees:
● Provide regular feedback
● Be honest
● Remain empathetic and sensitive to situations
● Set reasonable expectations
● Stay connected with your employees
Without transparency in the workplace, people will come up with different versions of the truth. Consequently, there will be widespread misinformation in the organization. In the end, people will feel left out and frustrated.
Do Not Micromanage Your Employees
Has a supervisor ever micromanaged your workflow and your decisions? If so, you know how demotivating it is to work in such an environment. After all, you’d always doubt your abilities and second-guess your decisions. No matter how you look at it, micromanaging can have negative effects in the workplace.
While you need to give your employees some freedom, it doesn’t mean that you’ll leave them to their own business. You still need to hold them accountable for their decisions without micromanaging them. You can do this by using an ethical monitoring app like Traqq.
Traqq is a user-friendly time tracker that can automatically log your employees’ work hours. Even if you’re miles and miles away, you can still monitor your team’s performance. The app will capture activity levels based on keyboard movements and mouse clicks and scrolls. It will even take random screenshots and ten-second video recordings of a user’s desktop.
Even so, your employees won’t feel like you’re micromanaging them. Traqq intentionally reduces the quality of the captured images and video recordings. Passwords and private messages will be illegible to protect the user’s privacy. This way, your workers will know that you only have an idea of what they’re doing at a given period.
Be Approachable and Authentic
According to the Edelman research we mentioned earlier, 71% of employees believe their CEO should talk about sensitive topics and respond to challenging times. We know how difficult the pandemic has been for all of us. During trying times, it’s only natural for employees to seek reassurance from their employers. Indeed, trust is established with proper leadership.
A Harvard Business Review study shares the three elements of inspiring trust in leadership:
● Positive Relationships
● Good Judgment/Expertise
The authors analyzed over 80,000 360-degree reviews and found the importance of those elements in building trust. Those who scored above 60% for the three factors also received an overall 80% trust score. If the person didn’t display any of the qualities, they were given a 20% score. Indeed, when a leader possesses a clear vision and an authentic voice, they are likely to be trusted by their employees. On the other hand, when there’s a disconnect between a manager’s words and actions, their subordinates become disengaged.
Take the Human-Centric Approach
Of course, as a leader, you always have to think about the growth of your company. However, remember that you won’t get to where you want to be without your employees. So, as much as you can, build a human-centric workplace where trust levels are high. To achieve this, you need to embrace transformational leadership. With this strategy, you get to inspire your workers to work towards the same goals. By putting them first, you empower them to be creative and innovative. When they feel that they have control over their professional life, they are likely to foster trust in the workplace.
Building trust can be difficult, especially if you’re managing an organization with several departments. You have to accept that you cannot monitor everything and that there’s only a certain level of control you can achieve within a company. However, with the tips we shared in this article, you should have everything you need to get started. Always remember that your company’s success or failure depends on the level of trust in your workplace.