The importance of trust within a company is truly immeasurable. A culture of trust (also referred to as corporate culture of trust, although business cultures are certainly not limited to corporations) not only promotes a positive work environment, but it can also impact your company in more concrete ways. For example, a trusting workplace environment tends to breed more motivated employees, which, as every good employer is aware, usually results in increased productivity. A culture of trust can also result in a decrease in employee turnover, as trusting employees are much more likely to harbor a sense of loyalty for their companies. Follow the tips below to help create a culture of trust within your workplace:
1. Rethink your communication strategy
If your goal is to create a corporate culture of trust, then it is absolutely essential that you communicate such. And it is not nearly enough to only communicate with high-ranking officials, leaving lower level employees uninformed until it becomes absolutely necessary to notify them; rather, this communication should span employees within all levels and departments, including and relating to everyone equally. In order to create a culture of trust in your workplace, it is also not enough to simply deliver information. Instead, in companies that display a culture of trust, all communication is as transparent as possible, meaning managers not only explain what actions are being taken, but also why such actions are being taken. Transparency in business means justifying the important changes that are made and the significant steps that are taken, even to lower level employees whom you outrank and to whom you therefore technically need not justify yourself. Although it may seem to contradict the manner in which you’ve conducted business in the past, transparency is an essential component of trust-building within a company. If employees are informed of company actions and the justifications behind those actions, they feel as if they are valued and respected, rather than feeling like a pawn or an afterthought.
2. Plan, then follow through
In creating a corporate culture of trust, it is essential that you follow through on your intended actions. If your company consistently violates agreements or changes plans, employees (and also clients) will not know what to expect, and this tends to make them very wary. Therefore, it is important to engage in adequate planning and analysis before announcing a course of action to your company, as this planning reduces the likelihood that you will later be forced to alter your stated objectives. However, in the event that you must neglect to follow through on proposed actions despite proper preparation, simply informing your company usually dispels any negativity. Again, explain not only what has changed, but also WHY it’s changed. This increases the level of trust within your company, as it allows employees to understand and justify actions that may have otherwise made your business seem fickle and therefore untrustworthy.
3. Walk the talk
Walking the talk involves much more than simply following through on proposed plans of action. The concept of walking the talk takes following through a step further in that it requires employers to encourage those within the company, especially managers and high-ranking employees, to emulate the type of behavior they wish to promote. If a manager is able to demonstrate the type of behavior they expect from their employees, then they are far more likely to be trusted and far less likely to be labeled a hypocrite or poor leader. There is very little trust within companies whose managers demand a type of behavior from their employees which they themselves are incapable of adhering to. What’s more, not only does failure to walk the talk result in decreased trust within the company, but it can also result in an unsatisfactory work ethic among employees as they realize that managers do not actually expect anyone to meet the standards that they supposedly espouse.
In creating a corporate culture of trust within your business, it is important to realize that the actions of employees and managers are just as meaningful as your ability to communicate. While open, honest, and transparent communication is essential to trust-building, it is not enough on its own. Actually following through with proposed plans (and if they must be abandoned, justifying why those plans are no longer in place) is equally essential, as is having managers model the type of behavior and attitude they wish to see among their employees. In general, if you want someone to trust you or your company, you must first give them convincing reason to do so.