In any healthy relationship, trust is an essential building block that paves the way to long term happiness and wellbeing.
The same is true in the workplace. When we feel connected and trusted, our brains release the feel-good chemical Oxytocin, meaning we’re more likely to give more of ourselves and to feel a sense of loyalty.
Building a culture of trust in the workplace is good for everyone. Employees who feel trusted and valued are more likely to perform well and build positive relationships with their colleagues. They’re also more likely to stick around for longer and go the extra mile. So how do you begin to build trust in the workplace? We’ve put together some practical steps to get you started:
Key to building trust is clear, consistent communication. We often get so caught up in the day to day running of a business that we neglect to make time to ensure employees are being kept abreast of company news. Whether it’s news about how the company is performing or changes internally, keeping everyone informed on a regular basis is essential.
Connect with your people
Whatever the size of your organisation, connecting with your employees is a key step to building trust. Everyone wants to feel valued, recognised and connected so it’s important to spend time getting to know people and taking an interest in their life. Take some time out every week to check in on your team and make sure they know your door is always open.
Resist the urge to micromanage
Hovering over your employees at every turn and monitoring them constantly does nothing to build trust in the workplace. If you want your team to trust you then you need to trust them. Make sure everyone’s clear on your expectations and encourage questions. Be there when they need you then step back and trust that the work will be done.
Provide good training and support
Whether it’s a new employee or an existing employee struggling with their work, it’s critical to provide good training and support if you want to foster trust. For new employees, identify any training requirements as early as possible and follow up promptly. For existing employees, take the time to understand any struggles they’re having and ask what training and support will help. If you want to build trust, then you need to invest in your team.
Recognise and reward
Recognition of a job well done such as reaching key milestones and overcoming obstacles is an essential trust building tool. It shows that you value your employees and the work they do. Acknowledging their achievements demonstrates that they’re a valued team member and an asset to the business. This kind of positive reinforcement engenders trust and creates an environment where employees feel motivated to do their very best.
Have clear boundaries
Whilst connecting with employees is critical to building trust, so is having clear boundaries in place. Make sure you’re connecting with your employees on a level that’s professional and respectful and don’t fall into the trap of trying to be a friend to everyone. Managing employees who feel like you’re their friend is fraught with difficulty – it can often end up destroying trust and creating resentment. Remember that we’re hardwired to respect boundaries and we tend to be more productive when they’re in place and we’re more trusting of those who have them.
Businesses that prioritise trust in the workplace are better equipped to deal with challenges and more likely to weather any storms. Employees who feel trusted and in turn, trust their employer, have a more positive outlook, work better as a team and are much more likely to be productive. Understanding the role that trust plays in the workplace and having strategies that reflect this is critical to empowering your people and ensuring the success of your business.