What Means Trust at Work?
Trust at work means having faith that your colleagues are qualified and reliable and that they will do their best to help you succeed. It also means being able to believe that your coworkers have their best intentions in mind and will act in a way that is good for the team and not just individually.
The Importance of Trust at Work
When you invest in building a trustworthy work environment, your employees will know they can rely on you. They’ll be confident that you do what you say, take care of their career development, and make sure they reach their potential. The immediate effect is an improvement in employee retention. People don’t want to leave a job where they are well taken care of and where they have a certain future.
A low turnover rate increases the average expertise level of your employees. When people keep a job for a long time, they are more productive and engaged. For example, they can more easily adapt to having a hybrid work schedule or work entirely remotely. They know each other better, build friendships, and become more motivated to work towards a common goal. It is also easier to create a robust company culture and add meaning to your brand.
Trust should be present between all employee categories. Employees should trust management and vice-versa. Everyone should trust the HR team. And team members should trust each other. The power of example is very strong. Trusting relationships reduce the number of conflicts, such as leave clashes. Without conflicts, people cooperate better and come up with more creative solutions. Not only that it improves productivity, but the company will also have more qualitative products and services.
10 Ways to Build Trust at Work
Examples of trust at work include building a high level of credibility for your organization, making employees feel confident and secure about their jobs, and proving that respect and trust go both ways. Here are the milestones of building trust at work.
1. Honesty Goes a Long Way
It may be hard, but being honest is crucial for building credibility and trust at work. Employees should be aware of the company’s issues and the solutions in place. They should also be mindful of the company’s successes and advances.
Honesty also works at a more personal level. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, admit your mistakes, and share all the necessary information with employees. People can forgive a mistake or understand an emergency. What they can’t forgive (or forget) is lying, misleading, and taking advantage of their good faith.
2. Be Considerate
Showing people you care makes them feel safe and appreciated. Don’t prioritize results over people because, inevitably, people will quit, and results will drop.
Being considerate includes knowing the value of each employee, how much they can handle, and what they need to be productive. It includes planning the tasks transparently and equitably, show empathy, asking for feedback and using it, and respecting employees’ private lives.
The team of Marie Claire Ross has put together a framework for building trust within teams. More specifically at the intersection between Safety, Connection and Meaningful future exist trust. In this way, we can identify the importance of meetings, accountability and visibility of each employees.
To identify trust you need to answer these questions:
- It is safe to be myself?
- Do I belong here?
- What's my future with these people?
3. Offer Support and Mentoring
To reach their potential and become confident and productive, many employees need support and mentoring. Just telling them what they do wrong won’t help. People should find support inside and outside their team.
One of the best ways to build trust at work is to consider a practical and emotional trust. Some employees may need more than advice on how to solve a practical problem. They may need career counseling, a better work-life balance, a flexible work schedule, or just some inspiration.
4. Show Appreciation
Writing employee recognition messages and thank you letters from time to time is an excellent way to show your appreciation. Don’t wait for the 20th work anniversary to show your employees and colleagues you care about them. Use smart HR apps to notify you when someone celebrates a birthday or milestone, and don’t miss any occasion.
You may also want to show your appreciation on non-standard occasions, such as after a difficult time, completing an important project, receiving an award, or participating in an event.
What is the wheel of trust?
The Roffey Park Institute has developed the wheel of trust model for creating a successful working relationship between employers, employees, and colleagues. It consists of several core behaviours that should be used to ensure trust:
- listening well,
- being consistent,
- demonstrate vulnerability,
- sticking to commitments,
- being transparent,
- being flexible,
- demonstrating trust and
- appreciating others.
The institute researchers also highlight that high staff turnover, low employee engagement, excessive monitoring, redundancy, and bureaucracy are all effects of inadequate interpersonal trust between coworkers.
5. Good Leadership Means Respect and Personal Example
While working to build trust in your employees, you shouldn’t forget about offering trust. Treat people with respect, listen more than you speak, and behave consistently. Leadership means more than dictating tasks and firing employees. It means leading by personal example and showing employees how you want them to act rather than telling them.
A trusting company implements trust at all levels. Trust is the first to go out the window if the company lacks consistency, accountability, or appreciation anywhere in the org chart.
6. Create Transparent HR Processes
The HR team is the employees’ interface with the organization. It’s the first and last contact they have with the workplace. Whether it’s their salary, leave entitlement, absence records, or performance evaluation, everything that happens in the HR department concerns the employees.
When you know at any time who is off, due to transparent attendance calendars, or as a manager you know when your people will be in vacations, then it's easy to plan ahead and ensure business consistency. This creates trust within the workplace and teams too.
Therefore, HR processes should be straightforward and transparent to everyone working for the company. Employees should have access to their work-related records, be able to request time-off, use simple apps for tracking working hours and absences, and know at all times the latest updates in the company’s policies. Streamlined HR processes show employees the organization cares about their welfare, which builds trust and increases engagement.
7. Build an Inclusive Culture
The trusting workplace is the place where everyone feels respected and included. People are treated the same whether it is about attending a business event, participating in a virtual team-building activity, working overtime, joining a brainstorming session, or taking a long lunch break. Each employee is valuable and should receive the same benefits, appreciation, and opportunities as any of their coworkers.
An inclusive culture encourages healthy behaviors and inspires people to be more respectful, considerate, and emphatic.
8. Encourage Self-Management
Although widely practiced, micromanagement is not a good policy for building trust. On the contrary, when employees feel controlled and observed all the time, they are more likely to be dishonest, absent, or misleading. Or simply said avoid micromanagement.
Furthermore, in a remote work environment, self-management is crucial. And it doesn’t mean just time management. Self-management also includes how you plan vacations and manage time-off, interact with colleagues, find the information needed, and manage the life-work balance.
Empower employees with employee self-service apps and allow them to be responsible, develop their own solutions, and get involved in task planning.
With LeaveBoard, every employee will have an account with their data. They will be able to see the attendance calendar, see how many vacation days they still have left, when the next public holidays will take place, who is off today, and submit the request for the next PTO with ease.
9. Improve Your Communication Skills
Trust is built on communication. People will get the wrong message if you say the right things using the wrong words. Learn to listen, give advice, and ask for feedback. Learn to communicate your thoughts straightforward and honest, even if it means admitting mistakes. Keep your communication channels open but within boundaries. Trust needs balance and consistency more than anything.
10. Follow the Right Goals
No one can build trust on quicksand. If you only care about money and results, people will know it regardless of the considerate and kind words you say. Build a solid foundation for the company’s policy, including equity, respect, empathy, loyalty, and honesty. Only then think about building trust and credibility.
Digital task management tools help you to asign concrete actions to each team member in a balanced way, but also to see how these tasks fit within the company objectives. In this way, you can track efficiently goals, when something is stuck, what goes according to plan, and if there is a need for your support. In the image below you see how to follow the onboarding of a new hire in Asana.
Related: Learn the the keys of the goal-setting process.
Congratulations. You have now have a better understand on the activities leading to stronger and trustful teams. Here is a image you can add to your pinterest canvas, just in case you would like a reminder.
It isn’t easy to build trust at work, but it is a must. The good news is that you can find plenty of help in the digital world. For example, HR apps like LeaveBoard help you empower employees by granting them access to their work-related data. They also notify you when an employee celebrates a milestone to give you the chance to show your appreciation. You can also try collaborative tools for better communication. But the most important ingredient is a solid foundation of healthy behaviors and principles.