Why It’s Important to Foster Trust in the Workplace

June 18, 2018

Three ways to lay the foundation for a productive, engaged, and innovative workforce

Trust is tough to come by these days. The news is filled with stories of spying, data breaches, and broken contracts. But creating trust is important in order for people to feel safe in both their personal lives and in the workplace. In fact, organizations that have successfully built a culture of trust experience the highest levels of employee performance.

Unfortunately, a large number of employees don’t have that all-important level of trust. In a recent survey, 45% of employees indicated that a lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting work performance. Without trust, it’s difficult to collaborate to meet shared goals and vision. Communication breaks down. Employee engagement plummets. Trust is a two-way handshake that takes time to build. Inconsistent words and actions can shatter it quickly.

 

Sources of distrust

Inconsistency is a major cause of doubt and cynicism in the workplace. In fact, a survey by EY found that two of the top five factors leading to a lack of trust were unfair compensation and unequal opportunity for pay and promotion. Other factors included:

  • Lack of strong leadership – Putting personal gain ahead of the group, inconsistency, and a lack of communication cause mistrust.
  • High employee turnover – Rumors and misinformation about the cause of voluntary or involuntary turnover can quickly shatter trust throughout your workforce.
  • Non-collaborative work environment – Without trust, employees may withhold information or be unwilling to hear other points of view halting effective teamwork and the potential for innovation.

Three ways to build trust

One of the easiest ways to establish better trust in the workplace is to use good manners. Strengthen your interpersonal skills and always be kind, courteous, and professional to nurture the healthiest working relationships. Additionally, when managers “actively work to build trust by seeing their employees as people, assigning work that plays to employee strengths, creating momentum toward a common goal, etc., trust at work becomes a pretty powerful engine for performance.

Here are three ways you can build trust among employees and encourage productive work relationships:

  1. Be authentic and maintain integrity. It’s imperative that you keep your promises and follow through. Transparency is key. For example, share as much information as you can but don’t gossip about your coworkers.
  2. Encourage others and be respectful. There’s a big difference between giving orders and motivating employees to do their jobs well. Make everyone feel they are an important part of the team.
  3. Lead by example. If you make a mistake, own it. Your coworkers want to see you do the right thing – whether it’s admitting that you don’t have all the answers or giving credit to another employee. Modeling positive behavior earns trust and respect.

 

The positive impact of trust

Trust goes hand in hand with employee wellbeing and productivity. A recent survey found that employees in trusting work environments experienced 74% less stress and felt 76% more engaged than those in “low-trust workplaces”. There are many studies that prove healthier employees are more productive.

 

Make trust a priority

Despite the high levels of mistrust existing in the workplace today, it’s critical that your organization focuses on building and maintaining trust. Trust is the foundation to a mutually beneficial working relationship between employers and employees. It paves the way to effective collaboration, open communication, and improved productivity. Stay true to the principles of creating trust and your business will enjoy a positive return on its investment.

Written policies and automated business processes are two very good ways to make sure your organization treats employees consistently. Policies define the rules and procedures everyone must follow. Asure’s Human Capital Management and Mobile Workforce Management solutions automate key people processes to ensure they are performed the same way in every situation, with every employee.