So I had attended two marvelousÂ twitter chat sessions today that led me to write up this article; The first was Bryan Wempen‘s daily fascinatingÂ DriveThruHR (#dthr) who hosted Kimberly RodenÂ with her words of wisdom on HR (or UNconventialHR). The other session was non other than SHRM’s WeKnowNext Nextchat Wednesday session featuring Lisa HornÂ and Cassidy NealÂ with great discussion regarding Flexibility at Work (#workflex). And even though neither session was entitled workplace trust, but they both lead towards it directly or indirectly and great ideas were thrown, and I had to think about trust in the workplace and how essential it is for both employees and organizations alike!
WHY IS TRUST ESSENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE?
Trust is not only essential in the workplace, as a matter of fact, it is essential in every aspect in life. Think about it. How happy will you be dealing with people you do not trust? whether you are an employee, an employer, a friend, a student, if you are dealing with people you do not trust, there will always be this margin of caution you will experience with the other (or the potentially “evil” other). Now I don’t know about you, but I would take on trust-worthy people over others anytime!
Sadly the situation is NOT that bright in organizations. According to a study conducted throughÂ Maritz Research Poll, the following statistics were gathered where employees felt that:
- 12% believe their employer genuinely listens to and cares
- 10% have trust in management to make the right decision in times of uncertainty
- 7% felt senior managementâ€™s actions are aligned with their words.
Not looking so bright eh? Sadly that is the situation!
WHAT ARE ORGANIZATIONS DOING TO REGAIN TRUST?
And what are organizations doing to resolve this trust issue? just worsening it! Activities such asÂ holding back information from their employees, avoiding proper communication with employees, showing no signs of caring for employees, which often lead employees to .. you guessed it, lesser trust ! And from there on it keeps getting worse. Employees start sensing favoritism, skepticism with management decisions, vision and communication, feelings of distress, lower productivity, and finally leaving..
But what I do not understand is why are organizations acting this way? It is mind-bugling ! The reasoning I can think of is probably a mindset of control. Companies or managers might still go with the mentality of controller-controlled, or manager-employee, whereas modern HR advocates (or at least should) more of a leadership mentality where you help your employees, you guide them, you teach them trust, show them trust. In fact one aspect in today’s discussions focused on workplace flexibility, and this shows a high level of trust the company has in its employees, and it only reflects back on employees sensing trust from the organization with their work. Trust is a two-way street.
So instead of holding back information from your employees, we understand some information might be confidential, or sending some email that no one will buy,Â the more transparent you are, the better is your situation. Why would you hold back information regarding an employee who has left the company? or who was let go? The employees WILL find out. We are in an era where you cannot really hide information, so play the right card, trust!
WHY SHOULD ORGANIZATIONS TRUST THEIR EMPLOYEES
Well, let me put it this way,Â If you do not trust your employees, just let them go, or close down your business. Your employees are your image to the outside world, they handle and promote your product, they deal with your clients, how can you NOT trust them? no matter how many policies you place, there will always be loopholes, trust is simply the best policy.
Lack of trust will lead employees to hate work, feel stressed out and upset, lose focus and waste work time, lower productivity, you see?
IT IS THE ACTIONS THAT COUNT
Transparency, good communication, are essential to show trust to your employees. Do not tell your employees i trust you, show them you do. I still recall one employer I used to work for, where every employee had the keys of the office .. and I always thought, wow how much this employer trusts us. And guess what? We never had any issue with our company belongings. Allow your employees to take initiatives, trust their judgments, show them you care. You’re having financial issues? share that with them. It is their right to decide whether to stick with you or to move on, they have a life to sustain, and this might help figure out which employees you CAN trust.
And i leave you with some great words by Bryan Wempen:
“”A trust culture” is the only culture that really counts. You have it or you don’t….do you have it?”
What do you think?
Photo CreditÂ byÂ Jean-FranĂ§ois ChĂ©nier