8 Ways To Build A More Trustworthy Workplace
Is your workplace trustworthy? It’s an important question is in this age of spin and shiny social media images. Beneath the surface, trust is what holds together – and motivates – an increasingly diverse workforce.
Amy Lyman is co-founder of The Great Place to Work® Institute. She says “Trustworthy employers succeed because their credibility provides them with two key competitive advantages: first, they benefit from cooperation of employees with one another, across departments, throughout the organization as a whole; second they engender a deep commitment among employees to the long-term success of the company, its mission, and its vision as expressed by the leaders.”
If you want to create a more trusting environment at work, have fun with your team and consider implementing the following 8 behaviours.
1. Don’t Lie Repeatedly
Sounds rather obvious, yet dishonesty is rife in workplaces. Competitive pressures or a desire to avoid conflict may lead employers to distort truths. Employees pick up on this quickly. They may assume that it’s OK for them to mislead too. However you needn’t be 100% honest. On crucial matters, truthfulness creates respect and frees employees to do what’s needed.
2. Follow Through On Commitments
Broken promises engender mistrust. Do it often enough and employees will place their loyalties elsewhere. It’s difficult to fulfill every commitment you make. So restrict your promises to those you’re pretty certain you can keep. And when you can’t, have a good reason, and try to let the involved people know in advance.
3. Show Fairness
When it comes to rewards and punishments, impartiality should rule. Giving out the best assignments and praise to people who haven’t earned it will demoralize others. Favouritism is alright if it’s deserved. Just stay away from rewarding people who try to get perks only by sucking up or making the most noise. Promoting people based on competence and fit is a clear sign that fairness is respected.
4. Develop Employees to Grow Their Careers
To really generate trust, help staff develop their own career paths. Give them stretch assignments. Encourage people to voice their goals, then assist them in gaining new skills and knowledge. Sure they may still walk out the door for other reasons. But those who stay will be confident that you believe in them.
5. Demonstrate Transparency
Great companies leverage workplace communications to support their employees, share information, answer questions and advertise equitable benefits. Open-book management uses transparency as a strategic advantage. Its crux is that it is better to share information than suppress it.
6. Be Constructive and Objective In Performance Reviews
Using reviews to whip employees is bad practice. Rather than focus on faults, assess them as areas to improve on. Provide the means for improvement and tie future results directly to rewards. People respond well to being treated with dignity, not ridicule.
7. Give Credit Where it’s Due
It’s tempting to steal the limelight when something goes right. Except it breeds distrust if contributors aren’t acknowledged. Next time they’ll be suspicious. Maybe they won’t be quite as supportive. Or they might even engage in subtle forms of sabotage. All it takes to prevent this is to publicly credit the people who assisted.
8. Take Responsibility for Errors
Passing the buck when things go wrong deflates trust. Employers who admit mistakes set an example for staff. It shows strength of character to take responsibility in adversity. That’s what you’d like your employees to do. So model it clearly and consistently.
Other Ways to Stimulate Trust
There are endless ways to build trustworthiness. Like forgiving minor infractions and giving second chances. Punishing repeat offenders. Making logical decisions, not emotional or impulsive ones.
It’s easier to destroy credibility than it is to create it. As Ms. Lyman states in her book The Trustworthy Leader: Leveraging the Power of Trust to Transform Your Organization: it’s the adherence to building employee trust that increases engagement and makes employers a top place to work for.