Marian Evans, CEO of Elevate BC Ltd
Call me idealistic, but trust is important in business, politics, and all areas of our lives. It was, and still is, important. We live in uncertain times and faith is even more important when people feel uncertain about their future. However, I have noticed that there is currently a trust gap in many areas.
The ongoing strike shows that employers are genuinely concerned about their workers, fair distribution of resources and the nature of employment. There are also changes in what employees expect from their employers. Along with this, we look at why trust levels have fallen and why trust is an important factor in business.
What is a business trust?
By business trust I mean three different things.
1. Systematic faith. It is the trust of the employees that helps the management of the company to make the right decisions, take the right direction and ensure the success of the company.
2. Personal belief. Do employees trust managers to treat them fairly and accommodate their needs, or do managers put them first in decision-making?
3. Organizational trust. It is the belief in the organization. Does the company keep its promises? Are the procedures and policies consistent and fair, and does the company follow them?
These three types of beliefs are internally related. For example, when a manager does something that undermines employees' personal trust, their trust in the organization as a whole is also affected.
Different groups within a company may have conflicting goals, which can cause employees to receive conflicting messages. And when employees are dissatisfied with the organization, the nature of the work means that it is not always possible to leave. Instead, they stay and do as little as possible; Once that trust is broken, it is very difficult to rebuild it.
Why is trust important in business?
Employees may enjoy their work and even feel successful and proud, but if there is no trust between them and their boss, senior manager or the organization, they may begin to wonder how and where they fit into the organization. And it can have fatal consequences.
A lack of trust can affect not only company culture, but also employee productivity, engagement and retention. Employees must be trusted to take risks. Therefore, without trust, there is often very little creativity.
According to a PWC study, 93% of employees said they would be more loyal to an employer if the organization gained trust, and 90% said they were more likely to stand up for the company. On the other hand, 71% said they would be more likely to leave an organization that violated their trust, rising to 75% among younger workers.
Other studies show that when there is more trust in the organization, employees are 23% more likely to contribute ideas and solutions and 21% work longer.
What actions destroy faith?
Trust is hard to build but very easy to destroy. A lack of trust can be caused by an event such as an organizational restructuring where employees feel that their needs have not been taken into account. Other isolated events, such as a manager evaluating an employee's performance, can have a direct effect on trust. So lost trust can be easily restored because at least the action can be identified, implemented and resolved.
However, in most cases it is the subtle and repetitive behaviors that erode trust over time that erode trust every day. It often happens that these behaviors, some of which I have described below, are not challenged, but they are not willing to hurt their employees and do their best.
So what can leaders do?
Be consistent with your messages.
When companies interact with customers and other stakeholders, inconsistent messaging can happen anywhere in an organization (internally, from senior executives, or externally), but the consequences are always dire. Often senior executives tell people what they want to hear, which leads to confusion and lack of trust.
Fairness is very important in people's personal and professional lives. If employees feel they are treated less fairly than their colleagues or that their boss has "favorites," their self-esteem suffers. Many employees consistently deliver results, so any inconsistencies in your behavior with employees will be noticed and not forgotten.
Be honest. Never give false feedback.
Giving feedback to employees can be difficult, especially when they have to talk about their weaknesses face-to-face. But no matter how hard it is, you have to be honest. Giving a glowing performance report to an undeserving employee can stave off depression, but undermines the loyalty of team members who deserve sincere praise.
Get basic rights.
If you want to build trust in business, as with all aspects of corporate culture, senior managers must lead by example. It may require effort and more attention to daily realities, but in the end, I have found that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Start getting the basics right, like treating employees well, understanding their priorities and pain points when making decisions, recognizing their contributions to the business, and creating employee experiences where possible.
The Forbes Business Council is the premier growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. What am I eligible for?