neon sign of handshake up on dark wall in workplace

How Trust Affects Workplace Morale, Productivity, Loyalty and Ultimately Your Bottom Line

When it comes to establishing trust in the workplace, Marsha Sinetar wrote, “trust is not a matter of technique, but of character; we are trusted because of our way of being, not because of our polished exteriors or our expertly crafted communications.”

Organizations with well-established trust between employees and management operate more effectively and offer a more positive workplace environment for all. Plus, gaining the trust and loyalty of your team could be the difference between being seen as a ‘boss’ or a truly exceptional leader. This article will highlight effective ways to help build trust in the workforce.

Understanding the Basis of Trust & Why It’s So Important

Establishing trust between all members of your team – including yourself as an employer – is key in fostering a healthy workplace culture. If an employee does not have trust in their employer, it will no doubt affect their performance. Although you can’t always control the level of trust in your organization as a whole, you can ensure that you and your management team are promoting trust in your immediate circles. This will set the standard for the rest of your organization, building a trusting environment from the top down.

We recommend starting with each new employee, establishing trust from the very beginning as they learn to integrate into your organization. This will give them an early sense that yours is a workplace they can trust, giving them the motivation to perform at their best and return that trust. You’ll see increased productivity and improved morale among staff, as well as the ability for staff to work more effectively as a team, rather than as individuals.

Effective Strategies to Build Trust in the Workplace:

Compensate fairly

When it comes to productivity, your employees will only work as hard as they feel they are valued by you and the company at large. This starts with the level of compensation they are given. If an employee is not paid fairly, to them, that shows that you do not value their time or their skills. By simply compensating your team fairly, everyone will work harder, and there will be a greater sense of trust among team members.

Invest in your employees’ development

When building effective workplace relationships, it’s important to focus on developing the skills of all employees, especially for management and staff looking to move up the company ladder. If you notice a teammate with a knack for a specific task or skill, acknowledge that. Work with them to nurture and improve that skill and give them praise where it’s due. They will feel seen and appreciated, and your organization will gain a new asset!

Give more autonomy to employees

People rarely like to be micromanaged. Having their boss constantly looking over their shoulder and nitpicking every action or decision can tell an employee that you are not confident in their ability to do their job on their own. This comes off as a lack of trust on your part, resulting in a lack of trust on their part. Remember to have faith – you hired these people for a reason!

Pro tip: Some employees benefit from a little more guidance – in these cases, they will likely let you know. However, it doesn’t hurt to say, “I’ll let you do your thing, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.”

Respond constructively to problems

Respect is foundational in trust, and effective conflict resolution skills are important in gaining the respect of your team. Conflicts in the workplace should be resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Letting problems fester is a sure-fire way to damage the trust you’ve been working so hard to build. Remember not to take sides and don’t allow yourself or others to point fingers or behave disrespectfully.

Protect your employees

When it comes to workplace health and safety, it’s important to focus on the physical wellbeing of your staff as well as their mental health. Make sure your team knows that you are there to support them, and provide them with adequate resources and education. This could be anything from a fair benefits package to personalized check-ins. Never underestimate the value of a heart-to-heart chat, or even simply asking, “how are things going?”

Be honest, transparent, and share the necessary information

When it comes to building trust in the workplace, honesty really is the best policy. In any situation, you should provide as much information as possible as soon as you can. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” while reassuring your team that you will provide an update as soon as you can. Honesty and transparency from management are crucial, especially in tough situations.

Model the behaviour you want to see

As an employer, it is essential to set the standard you want your team to abide by through your own actions. For example, if you say teamwork is important, reinforce the point by collaborating across teams and functions. If you want to establish an appreciative culture, give credit when you see employees doing great work. You can not reasonably expect employees to act a certain way or follow certain policies if you are unwilling to do the same.