Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:18

Building Trust in the Workplace

What does a workplace with a high degree of trust look like? Employees who feel trusted in their skills and judgment tend to perform better and are more willing to go beyond their individual job responsibilities. They’re also more personally invested in their employer’s overall success in the marketplace.

So what stands in the way of building trust in the workplace? According to the Harvard Business Review, the following factors play a big part in management being unable to read “the trust landscape”:

  • building trustManagers are unaware of actions that are perceived by employees as displaying a lack of trust in their abilities.
  • Pressures to attain performance targets and a strict adherence to “bottom-line” mentality override the need to build trusting relationships with employees.
  • An organization’s risk-averse culture (as demonstrated by centralized authority, bureaucratic levels of approval and lack of transparency) “may also signal that employees cannot be trusted with resources and information.”

In these situations, it’s not surprising that employees feel a sense of distrust or lack of confidence from their employer.

What can businesses do to offset these “trust-busting” missteps? Here are tips suggested by experts in the field:

Commit to transparency. As we’ve noted in the past, sharing information about the company is a key contributor to a healthy, trusting culture. CEOs and other leaders should seek opportunities to communicate with employees about current achievements, setbacks and related issues. Encourage managers to be as forthright as possible about changes in policy, new initiatives, etc. Employees respond favorably when they feel they’re “in” on current and future business operations.

Loosen the reins. Assuming you’ve hired intelligent and capable employees, take advantage of the situation by easing restrictions that keep them from doing their jobs effectively—or seizing the initiative to do more. At the same time, if you’re willing to grant individuals or teams more autonomy, be prepared to accept errors as they occur. A trusting culture doesn’t punish mistakes made in the service of innovation; it seeks to learn from them. Employees will feel far more trusted within an encouraging—rather than a punitive—workplace.

Listen and invite feedback. One-way, top-down communication isn’t really “communication” at all. A culture built on trust includes listening to what employees have to say and inviting them to offer constructive criticism and new ideas regarding product development and customer service. Give them the opportunity to form teams that address chronic or perplexing issues. Make clear that participation in such efforts is voluntary and that employees shouldn’t feel this is additional work being piled on their everyday duties.

Finally, keep in mind that building trust takes time. A company culture that’s struggled to establish workplace trust isn’t going to “cure” this problem with a single change in policy. “Much like trust between two people, trust between an organization and its employees is earned over time, not overnight,” notes Entrepreneur contributor Vivian Maza. Instead, companies must “focus on and work towards earning [trust], and then continue nurturing so you can sustain it.”

Every business wants to retain its most talented employees. This can only happen in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. We strive to embody this principle at Baillie Lumber in all of our departments. Whether it is with our sawmill teams, our kiln drying departments of our hardwood trader groups, we are always looking for ways to strengthen that bond with every member of our team.

Do you have any best practices to share?  Let us know!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

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