5 Critical Techniques for Building Trust Amongst your Workforce

Trust is a critical element to success; it will help you get the most out of your teams. Without trust; communication, transparency and even employee engagement weakens amongst team members and between staff and management. And when this happens, productivity and profit takes a fall, and problems like high employee turnover become apparent. 

In a Harvard Business Review, it was found that employees who felt they could trust their leaders/organisation and who felt trusted themselves, reported:

  • 74% less stress,
  • 50% higher productivity,
  • 76% more engagement, and
  • 70% more alignment with their companies’ purpose compared to employees in low-trust environments

Whose responsibility is it?

The building of trust begins with team leaders, who ought to create a ‘micro-culture’ of trust within their teams by taking an approach that’s personal, motivational and aspirational. It’s difficult for top-management to build trust amongst the workforce because their involvement is limited: they may not know every person by name, they’re often not the first line of communication, and they’re not the visionaries for ground-level teams – and all of these factors play a big part in establishing trust. 

If you’re ready to reap the rewards of building trust within your team, consider these 5 critical trust-building techniques:

1. Create a vision

Creating a vision that aligns with your teams’ skills and the organisation’s goals, gets your team excited about foreseeable opportunities, while making them feel supported and valued – and at the same time, creates a feeling of trustworthiness between you. A leader that demonstrates strength and positivity, and which motivates those around them in a smart and trustworthy manner, will be supported, communicated with and will absolutely get the most out of their teams. People trust those that lead from the front and who take responsibility and accountability for the success of the pack. 

2. Tell the Truth

Employees want to know the truth. Transparency is critical in the workplace, and especially now during the Coronavirus outbreak when uncertainty and worry is rife. A leader, and even an entire organisation, can lose the trust of their workforce if they fail to keep their people informed – whether the news is good or bad, it needs to be said when the time is right. This is where employee engagement comes in: if you exclude your workforce from decision-making, and deny them the truth about developments, are you really working as one body? Are you really building a culture of engagement and trust?

3. Encourage open communication

Engaged employees will feel comfortable communicating with their leaders, but it’s the leaders that need to ensure communication is constantly encouraged and maintained – and, therefore, it should start with them. Communication is personal and is strengthened by building rapport: asking how employees are, calling them by their name, encouraging them to share their suggestions, ideas and even concerns. Healthy, open communication is not a given – it’s a product of employee engagement and a product of trust. Communication is also very useful, of course, as it provides a window into what employees feel, where they’re excelling/struggling, their advice or suggestions, and ultimately it strengthens a team. Open communication improves productivity, profit, and solves operational problems as well as avoids issues of high staff turnover, amongst others.

4. Ask for feedback 

A leader that wants to build trust, needs to show their workforce that they’re interested in what they have to say. The best way to find out what your workforce feels and what they need is by encouraging feedback. How can I improve, and how can we improve collectively? This is the question to ask – and it’s one that’ll set the precedent of continuous improvement, teamwork, transparency and trust.

5. Give recognition where it’s due

Leaders should always give credit where it’s due. It’s highly appreciated by staff and is one of the critical keys to employee engagement and trust. A leader is sure to get more out of their teams if they recognise the efforts individuals are putting into achieving the vision. Leaders who have humility and are fair in their approach, automatically build trust within their teams.

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