Trust is critical in every organisation. A recent global survey by Ernst & Young showed that less than half of global professionals have “a great deal of trust” in their current employers, boss or team/colleagues. This lack of trust can seriously affect performance as it creates disengaged employees, mediocre performance and higher attrition.
When employees have a high level of trust in their leadership, they are more engaged and inclined to remain with the organisation. Their increased motivation boosts engagement and the speed of implementing new initiatives, improves creativity and innovation and creates increased confidence in their leaders.
There is also a broader perspective. With the influence of social media, negative information spreads quickly and can affect the organisation’s brand and ability to attract talent. People do not want to work for a company with a low trust rating.
With confidence levels differing greatly among organisations, we need to understand the key factors that impact trust and subsequently influence decision making. Leaders need to recognise the issues and behaviours that underlie the faith employees have in them. They are then able to build a common culture – one that is consistent, transparent and ethical. They need to examine not just their behaviour but implement a clear strategy that delivers on the critical aspects that employees’ value.
Firstly, leaders must be:
- Able to create positive relationships with other people and groups
- Be well-informed and knowledgeable
- Understand the technical aspects of the work as well as have a depth of experience
- Make significant contributions to achieve results
- Keep their promises and do what they say they will
- Communicate in an open and transparent manner
- Deliver on their promises
- Provide strong leadership
Then they need to look at the more tangible factors in their policies and procedures that affect trust including providing job security; fair compensation and good benefits; equal pay and promotion; and a work environment that fosters collaboration.
Trust is a crucial issue in organisations. A damaging perception creates long term financial, cultural and intellectual losses which are too significant to ignore. Companies need to recognise that their people are their most valuable asset, and by investing in the nurturing of their trust will help drive employee (and organisational) success!