Creating trust in the workplace is a pivotal advantage to develop in a work environment. Some points have been very important for your employees when applying for the job. Of course, having a purposeful career is probably something they are looking after. Salary is a key point of attention, as nobody likes being underpaid. Many workers also consider flexible work opportunities because remote work has become so common.
However, there is one criterion people cannot anticipate before being hired. Is there a genuine culture of trust among team members, managers, and the company itself? In this article, we discuss the meaning of trust at work, the benefits, the risks when it is not built, and, most importantly, what enables trustful work relationships. In a hybrid work setup, focusing on this key aspect is essential not only to boost employee collaboration and productivity but also to enhance satisfaction, engagement, and a healthy atmosphere.
What is trust in the workplace based on?
Practical and emotional trust: the two types of trust in the workplace
There are two types of trust: practical and emotional.
Practical trust is the obvious one. It answers basic company’s expectations, such as being present at work and on time. Another example can be that all employees should meet their deadlines. Simply put, practical trust is based on reliability and getting work done. It is knowing that everybody is ready to work efficiently for a common goal.
Emotional trust, on the other hand, is more difficult to define and attain. To explain it as easily as possible, you can reach emotional trust by exceeding expectations. It’s not just about work; it’s creating bonds between work partners and managers. Getting work done is one thing. But if your staff goes over what’s been asked, it’s one step further. Ultimately, when team members go the extra mile, it increases the overall productivity of your workforce.
Respect, fairness, and credibility: the three pillars of the culture of trust
Employees should feel respected but also respect others. Respect can come in different forms: gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, skills, and so forth. Without it, there’s no way you can build any genuine and trustful relationship.
Fairness is a core aspect of collaboration, employee satisfaction, and experience. Being fair is essential in acts and words. If you fail at this, people start to doubt your ability to be impartial when making decisions. It is so important to develop trust to be sure that everyone is treated equally and justly. Otherwise, gaps and conflicts can appear within a team. Nothing is less productive than feeling that you are not on an equal footing with your colleagues.
Telling lies or making stories is just not an option. People never give their trust if they are not sure they can believe those in front of them. The same goes for you and your coworkers. Credibility is a huge component of trust, and being honest is an essential part of it. Being reliable and trustworthy at work is fundamental. If you are a leader, this is as important for work-related topics as personal issues your staff might need to share with you.
Why should you build a culture of trust in your work environment?
Increase in job satisfaction
If employees feel trusted, they are then likely to be happy to do their jobs properly and contribute to the common goals. Considering the importance of job satisfaction is paramount nowadays. Especially for young generations who place happiness at work among the most essential aspects. If your coworkers are feeling down in their professional lives, there is a chance for them to apply for another job. Taking this aspect into consideration is fundamental for HR and team managers.
Higher loyalty and retention rates
When people work in a company they trust, they are more likely to show loyalty toward it. They don’t want to break the bond between the whole team. They aspire to be at their best because they know their actions matter and are valued. Therefore, they are keen to do their best not to let their teammates and the business down. This feeling can even reach out to the customers. Eventually, they perceive the organization’s mindset and are more likely to support your products and services. But most importantly, having engaged team members lowers your turnover rates.
Innovation and creativity boost
Another benefit of an environment based on trust is that it helps to motivate the workers. This is particularly true for emotional trust. If workers feel trusted, they tend to be more comfortable unleashing their innovative minds. The more confident they are, the more inventive they become. Ideas pop out, and everybody starts brainstorming. It’s a positive kind of competition that undoubtedly benefits the company.
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Healthier and happier employees
Trust is also a powerful tool to improve your staff’s mental health. Just imagine working with people who don’t trust you or your abilities. Not only can it be demotivating, but it can create a really toxic work environment, too. However, when there is trust in the workplace, stronger connections between coworkers arise as they value each other’s work and know they can rely on each other.
Moreover, enabling trust leads to less stress, thus avoiding employee burnout and sick leaves.
Building this trust within the company is not an easy task. But it’s worth the effort. In the end, it helps achieve greater engagement and performance. This collective effort benefits everyone, from top to bottom. It may seem like a “nice-to-have” thing at first. But if you try to create a trustworthy atmosphere among your teams, you soon see the rewards. With trust, one can build self-confidence, gain in performance, and contribute to the company’s success.
What are the risks of not building trust among team members?
Loss of engagement and productivity
So, what happens if there is no trust in the workplace and among your workforce? Well, the first risk is a decrease in productivity and engagement. Your workers don’t see any interest in any commitment. Why would they be productive for a company that doesn’t believe in their abilities? They stop using their full capacity, which leads to a loss from an individual and a collective point of view. In the end, all you get are people who are reluctant to work together and doubtful about each other. They work at a minimum level of effort, directly impacting their output. In the long run, this can even result in employees starting to quiet quit.
Increase in stress and risks of burnout
A workplace where people do not feel comfortable with each other is very harmful. One of the main risks is an increase in stress for the employees. Stress is rarely a positive feeling. If it carries on for days, weeks, or even years, you can be sure to face burnout issues at some point. An untrusty workplace can lead to some very painful situations, including a rise or absences and sick leaves. As a manager, you do not want to deal with absent workers and be uncertain if your team will ever be complete.
Decrease in collaboration and workplace connection
Before experiencing burnout, your workers can simply feel isolated, even if they belong to a big team. Without trust, your workplace can end up as an empty shell. Employees come and work there, but neither interact, build genuine connections, or work together. A company should always create its own culture and have unique values. Some people say that it should feel like family to be more engaged and productive. Others could prefer the image of a sports team where each player’s effort is a new step toward victory.
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How do you foster trust in the workplace?
Emphasize the importance of communication and transparency
To establish trust in your workplace, you must set some simple rules for all employees.
First, communication is key. Your staff should feel free to debate and give their standpoint to anyone, respectfully, of course. Honesty can help build this feeling of trust among the employees.
Encourage your team members not to keep their thoughts to themselves because, in the end, they may feel frustrated or resentful. This is definitely not a place you want to go.
Encourage employee empowerment
To get their teams going forward, managers should encourage personal and professional growth. Improvement in both domains is a major motivation and a crucial aspect for many employees. Giving them the opportunity to gain new skills and experience shows that you believe in them. Moreover, the more qualified your staff is, the better for your business.
But there are many other ways you can empower your workforce. Inspiring your coworkers to take initiative is one of them. Allowing remote work opportunities is also a great sign that you want to give more autonomy to your staff and entrust them.
Show appreciation and recognition regularly
Recognition is a huge motivational tool for many of us. Not only does it reinforce the level of trust, but it also boosts confidence and productivity. If one of your staff does a valuable act or voices an interesting idea, don’t hesitate to express your gratitude for their input. It’s always good to hear, especially from leaders, that your work is appreciated. It’s a huge morale and motivation booster.
As an HR manager, you have probably helped choose the people working with you. You have selected them because they have qualities that you see as beneficial for the company. But these qualities are not static. As we emphasized earlier, people can and want to learn new skills.
So, it’s time to invest in your team members! Offering them training and learning opportunities shows that you trust their abilities to grow and succeed. Investing in people is never a waste of time or money if you know what they can bring to the company. Quite the opposite.
Create an inclusive work environment
The importance of inclusion in the workplace also needs to be considered in your strategy to boost trust in your work environment. No matter who people are or where they come from, everyone must feel welcome, respected, and recognized.
In today’s workplaces, being different must not be an issue or a blocking point to grow. An inclusive work environment is sure to help create trust. Pay attention to details and make everyone feel welcome and included.
Enable flexible working arrangements
Nowadays, workers have incorporated remote working as a priceless alternative to regular 9 to 5 office jobs. Letting your staff work from home shows that you trust them and don’t need to have an eye on them all the time. However, leaders have to be careful not to start developing micromanagement practices. They have to trust their employees and be reassured that work will be done, regardless of their working location.
Enhancing trust in the workplace is fundamental. Whether among employees or with the organization, it helps build an environment that triggers efficient work. When HR and team managers develop a culture of trust, workers feel respected and happier, which leads to more productivity as their engagement, creativity, and loyalty increase.
Letting your staff work remotely is part of a trust-based culture and will surely create new motivation and boost your company’s results. You’ve already adopted hybrid work practices but you’re still struggling to manage your flexible teams and workspace? Request a free demo of the deskbird app and discover many user-friendly features that empower employees to handle their schedules and book the workspaces they need!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.