One of the hallmarks of a successful organization is that trust between all the stakeholders is high. However, in today’s times, especially after the pandemic, it is easier said than done. Studies have shown that people working at high-trust companies are 50% more productive, 74% less stressed out, and have 106% more energy at work.
Understanding trust is thus essential whether a business has remote or in-person teams. A lack of confidence can lead to a decrease in motivation, which shows in the performance of such employees. This article looks at why trust is critical and how you can build it in the workplace.
What does the trust factor look like at a workplace?
Trust has assumed a lot more significance since the onset of the pandemic. A global survey says that one out of every three people does not trust their employer. The same study also highlighted that the level of trust decreases from the management to the lower level in an organization.
While 64% of executive-level employees trusted their employees, the corresponding figure for lower-level staff was only 48%. What it also means is that employees have less trust in their supervisors and the management. It thus becomes critical for an organization to build trust at the upper level.
6 Reasons to build trust at the workplace
Many workplaces can have a work environment lacking in communication, engagement, loyalty, and reliability. Doing your work successfully in such environments becomes tough. A bad working environment can lead to stress and other undesirable outcomes for everyone. Here’s how building trust for top performance can overcome these problems.
- Brings everyone on the same page An organization can expect to achieve their goals much better and quicker if its employees trust them. It will lead to a situation where everyone has the same line of thought with shared goals. However, bringing everyone together and aligning their thoughts can be difficult. It is especially when an organization has its business spread across the globe. Organizations need to communicate their mission, vision, and core values to their employees clearly in such a situation.
- Improves collaboration An organization can expect improved collaboration on projects when their employees trust them. The pandemic has shown the importance of trust, especially when everyone is working from home during the pandemic. One of the reasons for poor collaboration remains lacklustre communication. Improving the communication level and promoting honest can help in bettering collaboration.
- Decreases stress Studies listed in the article above have already shown that trust decreases stress, which also avoids burnout. As these can have a detrimental impact on an individual, organizations must take all measures to overcome those problems. Businesses need to foster a culture where transparency is of paramount importance. Frequent communication within teams can help solve this problem to a great extent.
- Enhances efficiency and productivity An engaged set of employees will trust the management more than a disengaged one. Engaged employees will also be enthusiastic and show improved productivity in their work. Businesses with a high level of trust in their employees fare 186% better than those with low trust levels.
- Improves decision-making Understanding trust and building it is more often a two-way street. Organizations with a high level of confidence have both managers and employees trusting each other. Such a combination augurs well for achieving organizational goals and business objectives. Employees will also feel empowered to decide, and managers will be confident that their actions will be correct.
- Leads to better employee retention When employees feel stressed out for a prolonged period, they are likely to exit from the company. The feeling can also lead to absenteeism and lack of interest among employees in their work. It can also lead to anxiety among employees, and they might not necessarily talk about it. Maintaining transparency at all levels and improving communication can help solve this problem.
6 effective ways to build trust at the workplace?
A global survey has shown that 55% of CEOs feel that their organization’s growth remains at risk due to a lack of trust. Though most businesses remain aware of the importance of trust in teams, they are unsure how to get started.
The pandemic has only further complicated things, with understanding trust gaining a lot more importance. Here are six ways to build trust in the workplace.
- Create a culture of transparency A study of CEOs from multiple countries globally has shown that businesses can easily outperform the competition if they have an element of openness. They are 30% more likely to succeed if they foster an environment of honesty. Closed company cultures and hierarchies often derail the smooth working of organizations. It is thus critical that business leaders today give more importance to transparency and openness. Transparent work culture also increases accountability through clear communication. The other essential aspects of transparency include regular feedback, remaining honest, setting the right expectations, and keeping everyone informed through frequent communication. Remember that lack of transparency can often lead to people making guesses and assuming things that may not necessarily be true. It ultimately leads to mistrust and increasing attrition rates.
- Give your employees a voice A survey has shown that 58% of employees feel they are responsible for improving their career graph. Yet 63% of them found that their employer has too much control over their professional life. Employees who feel they are in control of their careers will have higher levels of trust. Hence, employers need to make their employees feel empowered with information and new opportunities. Employees should have the confidence that they can speak freely about issues they care for. Organizations should also make sure that they promote two-way communication within teams.
- Improve communication within teams Employees most often get workplace information from their peers instead of managers. Research has shown that communication about new information from other employees is 37%, while it is 35% from managers. Hence, employees must remain connected with everyone and communicate effectively. It leads to better sharing of information at the workplace and improved relationships among peers. However, communications in many organizations often remain complex, leading to several issues. Multiple disparate channels of communication can often lead to miscommunication and loss of information. It can lead to confusion and growing mistrust that the organization is not open about communicating everything with employees. So, businesses need to have communication platforms that offer concise and relevant information.
- Communicate critical information with everyone Understanding trust and building transparency have gained a lot more prominence since the beginning of the pandemic. With uncertainties looming everywhere, it is natural for employees to feel bothered about things that are even out of their control. What compounds the problem further is the lack of authentic information. Similarly, a situation of information overload also doesn’t help anyone. Employees may often find irrelevant information, especially if they want something quickly. It leads to a disruption in productivity and erosion of trust. Employers need to have a single source of authentic information and block other channels that lead to misinformation. Furthermore, they can also personalize the communication to help build trust.
- Make the leadership friendly and approachable Employees can go through several challenging times during their careers. Managers need to sit down with their employees and help them sail through such times. The pandemic has had a terrible mental and health impact on everyone. So, these troubled times call for increasing empathy and compassion on the part of organizations. Fostering positive relationships and having consistency in communication can help leaders become successful. Employees would feel much better and empowered when they feel that their employer genuinely cares about their well-being. If these qualities are absent, it also shows that the management has an emotional disconnect with their employers. The messaging would often be inauthentic and not help build trust with employees. It will lead to a disengaged set of employees who wouldn’t care much about the organization.
- Make work more meaningful for employees The uncertainties of the current time have led to employees looking to do work that adds value to their skills and promotes growth. At the same time, businesses have also realized the importance of getting the best output and how critical it is for results. Employees today want to work for businesses that align well with their priorities and help them make a visible impact. Research has shown that 71% of respondents felt they want to do meaningful work that serves a greater purpose. An essential segment of the workforce in the current times is the millennials. Their number would only increase in the coming years. So, organizations need to have a work culture that offers meaningful work and a great career graph.
Employee-friendly workplaces experience a high level of trust among everyone. Businesses need to communicate well and make their employees feel empowered. The organizational goals must align with employees, and they should look forward to achieving them. When the expectations of employees get fulfilled by employers, they experience much better productivity.
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