Did you know that employees in high-trust organizations are consistently more productive, energetic, and collaborative than employees in organizations with a lack of trust? In fact, employees in high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 40% less burnout, and 50% higher productivity. Wowza!
However, building trust with employees isn’t always as easy as throwing monthly pizza parties or implementing casual Fridays. While these perks can temporarily boost morale, they aren’t likely to have lasting effects on employees’ happiness.
The good news is that business owners have many options to try and build a culture of trust in their organization. But before we get to that, let’s review what trust means in a workplace and how it can improve a business.
What Does Trust Mean in the Workplace?
In a workplace, trust means that employees:
- Can connect to their colleagues
- Contribute to the company, and
- Are offered opportunities to learn, improve and grow
In a strong culture of trust, employees should trust their leadership and colleagues; and vice versa.
How Does Trust Improve the Workplace?
When leadership focuses on building trust with employees, there are several subsequent benefits–that’s why 96% of CEOs rate trust with employees a high priority.
These benefits can range from increased quality of work to employee retention. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that compared to employees in a low-trust company, employees in a high-trust organization report:
- 106% more energy at work
- 13% fewer sick days
- 76% more engagement, and
- 29% more satisfaction in their life
Sound good to you? Let’s review a few strategies that leaders can use to build trust with their employees.
Recognize Successes and Wins
According to neuroscience research, recognition has the strongest effect on trust. Leaders can recognize excellence in a variety of ways. For starters, when providing recognition, positive feedback is the most impactful when it is:
- Specific, or
- Comes from peers
For instance, employees may find a specific comment on their contribution to a particular project more meaningful than a vague “you’ve been doing great!”
Further, leaders publicly addressing successes not only celebrates the employees and their accomplishments but also can inspire other team members to pursue their own successes. In addition, the public discussion of a win gives the excelling employee a platform and opportunity to share their strategies, helping the team to learn and improve even more.
Provide Flexibility With How Employees Complete Their Work
Employees value flexibility and discretion with how they complete their work. In fact, a survey conducted by Citigroup and LinkedIn found that nearly half of employees would give up a 20% raise for greater control over how they work.
By trusting their employees to manage their work, leaders display their confidence in their employees as well as provide a space for innovation.
Share Information Throughout the Organization
Did you know only 40% of employees report that they feel well informed about their company’s current goals and strategies? By widely sharing this information throughout the organization, leaders can help their employees to feel confident, stable, and part of the company’s future.
Business owners can reduce stress and improve productivity by creating a stable workplace for their employees. Leaders can create consistency through clear performance expectations and positive feedback practices.
Encourage Coaching and Guidance
Research shows that leadership plays a crucial role in creating trust in a workplace through guidance and coaching. If business owners opt for a coaching approach over traditional management, employee performance and retention are more likely to improve on a long-term basis.
For example, a leader may choose to guide employees through mistakes and find solutions instead of disciplining them. This approach may lead to the employee feeling more comfortable asking questions and performing high-quality work in the future.
For more examples, read on in our article “What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?”
Facilitate Purposeful Conversations
When management regularly engages in safe, open dialogue with employees, employee retention can improve. Why? Because challenges are addressed, discussed, and resolved early on.
Value Soft Skills
Nonverbal communication can help leaders further connect with their employees. For example, positive body language can create a welcoming environment—eye contact and nodding can imply interest and attentiveness.
In combination with purposeful conversations and active listening, nonverbal communication can make leaders approachable and help to develop trust with employees.
Try Active Listening
Active listening builds trust among team members and encourages employees to voice their concerns, find answers to their questions, and communicate their ideas. Employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform better at work.
Read on to learn more about unique ways to support your company culture through human connection.