Trust in the workplace is incredibly important. Employers need to trust employees, employees need to trust employers, and everyone needs to trust their coworkers. An office built on trust makes effective decisions, works productively, and is motivated to work as a cohesive team. Trusting environments also attract top job applicants, and they help you retain your current talent.
In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into trust, covering how to build trust around a workplace, how to build trust with employees, and how to regain trust once it’s lost. Trust us, it’s an article you don’t want to miss. 😉
Deception and mistrust are no good for office morale. An office environment built on trust will keep morale high no matter what problems you face. When your team trusts each other, and they trust the people in charge, comfort blooms. Trusting teams enjoy working together, which sparks enthusiasm, motivation, and creativity across your workplace.
Beyond the enthusiasm boost your team will feel in a trusting environment, there’s the surge of productivity that follows. Teams that trust each other avoid conflict, delegate tasks more effectively, and get things done quicker than workspaces that lack trust. Ensure your employees aren’t wasting time on dishonesty, lies, procrastination, and broken promises—building a trusting environment is well worth the HR investment in improved productivity alone.
Trust and decision making go together. The more distrust there is in a workplace, the more difficult it will be to make quick and effective decisions. Your employees need to know each of their teammates has their best interests in mind and that everyone is working together to achieve the same business goals. Trusting the judgment of each colleague leads to efficient and effective decision making, which means no bickering over the small stuff and confident choices when it matters most.
Word gets around. Your employees are going to talk whether they have good things to say or not. A trusting work environment will attract top talent who are on the search for a workplace that values their employees by building mutual trust.
Your current employees are also more likely to continue working for a company they trust, and one that trusts them in return. Ensure your team continues to want to work together by fostering trust between everyone in the building.
Race, gender, religion, age, and every possible inequality in your office should be examined and rectified. Ensure your business always prioritizes equality. Illustrating that everyone in your office is an equal part of a team working together will fortify trust. There’s no king or queen of the office, even if you have a higher ranking position or job title.
As much as you can, reduce notable hierarchies. If you need to clean the office kitchen, ensure it’s not only one division or lower-lever positions that have to do it. Work together in all aspects of your work to promote trust and cohesion across the entire office.
Communication plays a key role in building trust in the workplace. An office that fine-tunes communication also effectively reduces misunderstanding and conflict, which builds trust between colleagues, various departments, and those in charge.
Improve your office communication by developing thorough communication policies and striving to better understand each other's communication preferences. Leave nothing lost in translation. Your office productively, morale, and team cohesion depend on effective communication between everyone in your workplace.
Management should never be feared. They are a key part of the team, and they should seem approachable to anyone in the office—no matter what their position. Ensure there is clear dialogue between management and employees; put protocols in place so that everyone knows how and when best to communicate with management.
Those in charge need to make time to listen to and communicate with the people who report to them. Clear communication between all levels of your business will build trust and establish a team environment instead of a hierarchy.
Mistakes happen, and it’s how the employer or person in charge deals with those mistakes that really matters. What do you do if someone is late? How do you handle project mistakes? What do you do if an employee lied about being sick?
Punishment usually isn’t the best course of action. When employees are afraid to make mistakes or afraid of the consequences, they are more likely to lie or be evasive about those mistakes, which creates a breeding ground for mistrust. People react better to forgiveness, encouragement, and positive reinforcement.
You need to give trust to get it. Trust in your employees. You hired them for a reason, and if you did that part correctly, you shouldn’t have to worry about them every step of the way. Give them the autonomy and freedom to do their work on their terms. Be clear about your business’s values and expectations and let the employees take care of the rest. You can show trust by allowing unregulated breaks, flexible hours, and opportunities to work from home. If you don’t trust your employees to do their work, you’ll end up being a babysitter, not an employer.
If you know trust is lacking in your workplace, you need to prioritize it as soon as possible. Trust is a tough thing to build, especially once it’s been lost. When the trust is already gone, you need to start small and keep building. Don’t expect change to occur overnight just because you ran one trust building exercise. Be consistent, and don’t give up—it will be critical to growing and maintaining your business.
If your business made mistakes along the way, you need to own up to them. How have the decisions of owners and managers affected trust in the workplace, and what changes are you going to make now? Clear communication is important. Be straightforward about what will happen next. Your employees deserve honest communication from those in charge, and you’ll never build trust if you aren’t truthful with your entire team.
Every business should prioritize trust in the workplace, but if you suspect trust is dwindling or lost, it becomes all the more important. Trust exercises and team building may take away from regular workflows, but the benefits outweigh the cost. You must make time for activities that improve trust as soon as possible, and you need to continue your efforts to maintain it.
Learn how to build trust with your employees and amongst office departments by better understanding each other. Personality tests dig deep into what makes each employee different. The more you know about your teammates, the better you can communicate with them.
We wrote about the value of work personality tests & why we chose DiSC, but there are many options to choose from. Enneagrams are designed to help people better understand themselves and those around them, which can build trust, improve communication, and mitigate conflict in a workplace.
Learning something new or doing something you’ve never tried before as a team will bring everyone closer together. Let your team have a little fun while they experiment with a new technique, put their crafting skills to the test, or explore a nearby neighborhood. The opportunities are endless. Remember to ask your team what type of activities they would like to participate in and ensure everyone is comfortable with the chosen activities. Utilize the strengths of your employees by allowing them to share their own skills with fellow colleagues.
Team Building Opportunities:
Giving back feels good, and doing it as a team feels even better. Pick a cause or charity that your team feels passionate about and work together to give back to your community or those less fortunate.
Volunteering is an effective way of giving back, and all it costs is your time. That time spent on a good cause will present opportunities for your team to get to know each other, plus it’s a lot easier to trust someone who’s doing something selfless right alongside you.
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