Why and How to Build Trust in the workplace

“How to build trust in the workplace?”

The best managers build a high-performing team on the grounds of trust. In a recent research, Harvard Business Review revealed that 92% of workers find trust in the workplace essential to their success. It is clearly a must-have if you want your organisation to thrive. 

Let’s discuss 7 strategies to build a trustworthy organisation.

1. Integrity Should be the Strongest Foundation

The foundation of trust starts at the very top with senior management. This may seem like a no brainer but is often neglected while setting the tone for the organisational processes. 

Authentic managers who have strong moral principles and know of their emotional intelligence, earn respect and loyalty from their team members. Internal conflicts are reduced and members swiftly arrive at a decision. 

Every manager should operate with transparency and empathy at the workplace. It is important for them to create harmony across the organisation.

How to Build a Trustworthy Organisation

2. Create a Psychologically Safe Environment

Safe work environment is one of the top drivers of successful teams. It is an environment where being candid and vulnerable is viewed as a strength and not weakness. 

Employees should feel safe and valued while working within the teams. All managers should prioritise the goals of organisation over their self-interest. More than any external threats, internal threats like selfish motives are more dangerous and affect an organisation’s productivity. 

In fact, when a manager is receptive to feedback – even if it’s against their interest, employees take risks head on and are highly productive in accomplishing their tasks. 

3. Transparent and Proactive Communication is a Must  

Another way to build a trustworthy organisation is to keep your team members informed about what’s happening in the company – both good and bad. Everyone in the organisation should know what’s going on in the company as well as at the senior management level.

If there are any new decisions being taken, explain the “whys” behind them so people understand rationales. Ideally, you should be upfront about the changes, plans and other developments that directly or indirectly impact the employees.  

When leaders are transparent about new developments, employees find them trustworthy.

4. Follow Commitments through Thick and Thin

Do you know what is one of the quickest ways to erode trust? 

Making promises and then not following through.

A reliable manager would never over-promise and under-deliver. They always hold themselves accountable to ensure the fulfilment of promises. An employee’s faith is only earned when your words align with your actions. 

Let’s assume a commitment cannot be met for whatever reasons. In such cases, it is your responsibility to address it head-on. Maybe re-negotiate a timeline, but don’t go silent.

5. Enforce Moral Values at all Levels 

Managers at all levels must demonstrate the organisational values through their actions and decisions. Let’s say in your organisation, values like integrity, trust and accountability are deemed important, then always have a reward program to recognise and promote employees who personify them. It is equally important to hold people accountable when they violate these values. 

It’s no surprise that consistent appreciation from managers builds a sense of belongingness and mutual respect. 

6. Provide Fair Growth Opportunities 

Fair and equitable growth opportunities build a high-trust culture in an organisation. It is about fairly reviewing the work of employees and then providing constructive feedback in a timely manner to improve their performance. 

Employees feel emotionally secure in an organisation where they are recognised for their efforts fairly without any favouritism and biasness. Develop a culture of diversity and inclusion at work for trust to flourish. 

7. Invest in Employee Growth

When you genuinely care about the growth and development of your people, it deepens their trust in you and the organisation. Training and workshops are a great way to extend your support to employees and have a measurable impact on their career growth. 

Employees value those managers who are invested in their careers and help them reach their full potential. In a recent study at University of Warwick, they discovered that happy employees are 12 percent more productive and innovative than others. 

In Summary – How to Build Trust in the Workplace

The ability to build trust is one of the core capabilities of management. In high-trust cultures, employees go above and beyond to deliver results to your clients.  

While it takes work to build a culture of trust and authenticity, the returns are invaluable. 

Read about causes of distrust in the workplace here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is trust important in the workplace? 

Trust is a crucial element bringing together high-performing team members. It is required to cultivate a collaborative and productive work culture and to ensure smooth decision-making process.

2. How does transparent communication contribute to a culture of trust?

Transparency in communication ensures that your team members know about the recent company developments and new decisions. Being transparent and following commitments through thick and thin cultivates a culture of trust.