When you think of a workplace that contains a high degree of trust, what does that look like? It is true that employees who feel they are trusted in their skills, jobs, and judgment are often the ones that perform better and are willing to go above and beyond their job responsibilities. In addition to this, they are also much more invested in the success of the employer in the marketplace.
So, what can stand in the way of building trust in the workplace?
- Actions taken by managers that are perceived by employees as displaying lack of trust in their abilities
- A “bottom-line” mentality. Pressures to meet performance targets that override the need to build trusting relationships with employees.
- A risk-averse culture. Organizations that have a centralized authority, bureaucratic levels of approval and a lack of transparency may signal to employees that they cannot be trusted with information or resources.
In situations such as these, it is not a surprise that employees sometimes feel a lack of trust from their employers.
Here are a few tips suggested by experts in the field that businesses can do to offset the type of missteps.
Be Transparent. To build a healthy, trusting, company culture it is important to share information about a company. Business leaders should search out opportunities to communicate with employees. Whether that be about current achievements, setbacks or any business related issues. It is also important to encourage managers to be as upfront as possible about any upcoming policy changes or initiatives. Employees who feel they are in the loop of current and future business operations respond favorably.
Be flexible. With the assumption that you have hired a capable and intelligent workforce use that to your advantage. If you are willing to ease up on restrictions that prevent your employees from doing their jobs effectively, and allow them more autonomy, you will reap the benefits of a more motivated workforce. With this comes an increased possibility of mistakes. However, a trusting workplace culture doesn’t punish mistakes. It learns from them. Employees will feel more trusted in a workplace that fosters these values.
Encourage feedback. One-way communication from the top-down is not very effective and isn’t really “communication” at all. A business culture based on trust must also include listening to employees point of view, allowing them to offer constructive criticism and new ideas. Additionally, give them the ability to create teams that can address recurring issues.
It is important to keep in mind that building trust doesn’t happen overnight. A company that has struggled to build trust in the workplace in the past isn’t going to fix the problem with a few quick changes in policy. Trust is earned over time. Companies must focus on earning trust, then nurturing and sustaining it.
Keeping talented employees is important for every business. Building an atmosphere of trust and respect will help you retain top talent. At American, we take this principle to heart in all of our departments. From the sawmill, kiln drying departments, to our lumber traders, we consistently look for ways to build trust and respect in our organization.
What tips have you found effective that helped build workplace trust? We would love to hear them.