Fostering Trust in The Workplace
Building trust between workers and their bosses should be one of employers’ top goals. Trust can happen on three levels: culture/values, teamwork and workforce relationships.
Research suggests that while some companies are succeeding in fostering trust in the workplace, others may be falling short. According to a study, only 46% of workers have a “great deal of trust” in their employers and 49% of them have a “great deal of trust” in their bosses and colleagues.
If employees feel that their bosses do not trust them, it can decrease job satisfaction and productivity. However, when workers feel trusted, they are more likely to develop good work relationships and trust their colleagues, managers and leaders. According to a 2019 study by Oracle, 64% of employees “trust a robot more than their manager”. Trust among the workforce is beyond the organisation’s control. However, they can always try to influence it.
Companies can do this by promoting a transparent work culture, which includes giving and encouraging feedback, sharing relevant information/data, among other things. The introduction and implementation of moral/ethical norms and values will also help companies. All of this improves workers’ confidence and performance. For example, it is crucial that when leaders decide something, they inform the workforce.
Furthermore, everyone must make efforts to improve work relationships. Leaders and managers should promote this by encouraging activities outside of the office, like learning a new skill together, or volunteering. Leaders managing hybrid workforces can host virtual social events like team quizzes to ensure everyone is included. Social activities like these improve communication and team bonding, which are fundamental for developing trust. The ADP Research Institute showed that « employees who trust their team leader are 12 times more likely to be fully engaged in their work. » And a more engaged workforce is a more productive one.
We have all heard that introducing A.I. and machines in the workplace make it less human and hardens human interactions. However, this may not be entirely true. For instance, by delegating smaller tasks to machines, leaders and managers can spend more time focusing on employees’ wellbeing and professional development. Also, new software that monitors workers’ productivity/ performance/satisfaction allows managers to give credit and show appreciation for employees and their achievements. Practicing recognition for others’ success can also help build a culture of recognition, which promotes stronger workforce relationships and lays the foundations of trust.
In addition, investing in employees by strengthening their abilities and skills is an effective way to show how much leaders and managers are willing to trust the workforce and their work. Asking about them and getting to know them – their greatest talents, motivations, goals, work preferences – is the best way to do it.
All things considered, trust must be mutual: bosses need to make efforts to trust their employees and treat them with respect and integrity, and the opposite must also happen.