Hero 6-ways-to-build-employee-trust

6 Ways to Build Employee Trust

Posted by Alyce Vayle
May 4th, 2015

Employees in any organization are heavily invested in their time at work.

Trust is often cited as one of the main hallmarks of a successful company and building employee trust is essential to the running and success of any given team.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Your employees must believe in each other. When they don’t, communication, teamwork and performance inevitably suffer.”

So how do you go about building a winning team that trusts each other and your organization as a whole?


Be Consistent

Consistency is a key factor of any successful organization.

How a place runs – including the rules around processes – are ways to communicate an organization’s visions, goals and ideals.

It is important maintain consistency from the regulations governing annual leave entitlements to which team is in charge of the kitchen roster!

Staff need to have a clear idea of what they can expect to encounter on any given day. Consistent rules and directives help employees to feel more in control of their working lives, as they are aware of the parameters that surround them.

Consistency helps employees to achieve their goals by freeing up headspace so that they can think about the future instead of stressing about what the day-to-day framework of the organization is going to look like.

Have Firm But Fair Policies

Every organization needs to ensure that the employee policies they set down are firm but fair.

There is an increasing move towards more flexible workplaces, where people can take advantage of lifestyle improving factors such as flexible start and finish times, the option to work from home, casual dress policies and open door access to upper managers.

While all these policies make for (generally) better workplaces, it is still valuable for employees to know the rules and regulations around these benefits so that they are used appropriately and judiciously for the benefit of all.

If employees feel like there are no firm policies, many will become disengaged and may feel that some people are taking advantage of the system, while others keep their nose to the grindstone.

Having firm but fair policies and communicating these effectively is key to any organization’s long-term success.

But Stay Flexible

The Work Life Balance Organization believes strongly in the benefits of providing a flexible workplace.

“Flexibility in where, when and how work is undertaken is a priority for most employees at different times in their careers,” and “If employers are to attract and retain staff they need to offer and support flexibility at their workplace.”

If your employees trust that you (as an organization) will support them when they require flexibility in their lives, such as when an unforeseen emergency comes up, they will be more likely to go the extra mile for you when they need to.

Demonstrating flexibility can be a great cost free (or low cost) incentive for staff members and one that has shown to have long-term value.

Never Badmouth Others

Toxic workplaces have become so common that there is even a Wikipedia page devoted to the subject. A toxic workplace could be defined as one that is “marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity.”

Bullying, backstabbing, and badmouthing are all signs that a workplace has become toxic.

Badmouthing others is never an acceptable workplace practice for an HR department. This may seem like an obvious point, but it is too often ignored. It is also one that is difficult to weed out once a culture of negativity has been established and allowed to grow.

Deal with staff members who badmouth their colleagues or upper management in a firm but fair way and communicate that the entire team and company at large demands a higher standard of engagement.

Be Transparent

Marc de Grandpre, senior VP of marketing for KIND was recently interviewed for an article the necessity of maintaining a transparent workplace.

In it he states, “It is absolutely critical to have both an authentic and transparent work environment.” – Click to Tweet

He also beg the question, “How can your company learn, grow and succeed if people are afraid to be themselves, voice their opinions and genuinely show that they care about the brand and team?”

Because, according Grandpre, transparency is essential for idea-flow and allows staff to flag problems early on, without the fear of recrimination or rebuke.

Set an Example

Older siblings set examples for their younger siblings and so should upper management set examples for their team.

An HR team should be the driving force behind the culture, the ethos and the values of any organization. It must enforce these guidelines judiciously.

How can team members be expected to uphold the best practices for their workplaces when they see management slacking off or behaving badly?

Leading by example is one of the most important ways organizations can foster employee trust.

“As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and, in turn, the company – to greatness. To do this, you must show them the way by doing it yourself.”

– Diana Vanbrabant

This is relevant whether you are a manager fronting a team or an HR department that is driving the organizations’ culture as a whole.

Alyce Vayle is a career writer, journalist and blogger for a major education brand. She is also a content producer, digital communications copywriter and media geek. You can contact her through her blog.