Five simple ways to build employee trust in the workplace

For an organisation to thrive, the management must foster a culture of trust by ensuring transparency in communication across the organisation, treat employees fairly, provide constructive feedback, invest in skill development, and encourage collaboration and teamwork.

Trust in an organisation and its management can play a key role in helping companies maneuver through disruption and emerge successful in a challenging business environment. Especially during this time, as businesses rethink their strategies and adopt new processes and methods to withstand the impact of the pandemic, it is imperative that they consider how this rollercoaster of a year has affected their employees and their trust in the organisation.

Trust has always been one of the key components of a healthy, thriving work environment, as it reflects the effectiveness and integrity of the corporate leadership and induces high levels of self-motivation among employees. This in turn helps improve their productivity and performance, thus allowing them to leverage their full potential.

A mismatch in this equation may affect the workforce, leading to low employee morale, reduced productivity and increased absenteeism and turnover. The pandemic has highlighted the need for organisations to be more proactive and cognizant of how they can help enforce and sustain a healthier relationship with employees. While there are multiple methods to do so, let’s examine five simple ways to garner employee trust in the workplace.

Increasing transparency

One of the best ways to gain employee trust is to ensure transparency in all communication and interactions across the board, from the helm of the leadership to employees at all levels of the enterprise. Additionally, the policies of the company need to reflect the same, building a climate of trust among all.

Every manager or supervisor must ensure transparency in their interactions with their subordinates. Even simple and transparent gestures like superiors owning up to their own mistakes will undoubtedly uplift their trust and stature in the eyes of the staff working under them.

Enabling effective communication

Poor or lack of communication is often one of the main reasons for the lack of employee trust. In contrast, a two-way open communication and information sharing ensures transparency and promotes better understanding and trust.

The message, even if it is difficult, must be conveyed with clarity and sensitivity, giving confidence to the listener or recipient. It is important for managers to engage in sincere and constructive dialogue with their subordinates, and avoid being condescending to build employee trust. Even in case of complex discussions such as providing negative feedback for an employee’s performance, personal comments must be avoided.

The feedback needs to be communicated professionally, providing a proper perspective on what can be improved rather than what was amiss, and with sensitivity so that it is taken in good spirit by the employee. These will safeguard the manager’s respect and reputation in the eye of others too.

Ensuring equitable treatment

All reporting staff must be meted out equitable and fair treatment at the workplace. Constructive feedback must be given. The effort to reward must be evident; meritocracy and performance metrics must be the only yardstick for promotions.

This will also motivate employees to contribute ideas that would lead to cost savings, increased productivity, maximised revenues, and improved reputation for the business. Additionally, the career growth path must be clearly defined and aspirations of all employees must be taken care of to inculcate trust.

Prioritising employee training and development

All enterprises can earn the goodwill and trust of their employees by investing in skill development. A trained employee feels empowered, valued, and respected by the company. This helps in boosting their self-esteem, productivity, and job satisfaction. Additionally, knowledge sharing must be encouraged to enable overall development of the workforce.

Increasing collaboration and teamwork

Teamwork is the hallmark of a vibrant and dynamic workplace. Hence, instead of working in silos, agile teams must be formed, where everyone can collaborate and work smarter. An atmosphere of mutual respect, support, and team camaraderie must be fostered.

Role rotation and leadership, and calibrated experimentation should also be tested out.

All of the above methods can help create a conducive work ecosystem, gain employee trust, improve staff morale, generate positivity and goodwill, boost productivity, and mitigate risks of staff turnover for your business. As employees navigate through these difficult times, these simple measures can help organisations go the extra mile and enable a smooth working relationship between the enterprise and its people.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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