The New KPI at Work: What Is Trust in the Workplace?

Employers

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Tracking and analyzing KPIs are some of the best ways to monitor your company’s success. Although sales and income are always worth noting, a new performance indicator has risen due to the shifts in the world of work—trust.

How exactly can trust affect your business and your people?

This article dives into the importance of trust and how you can foster a culture of trust within your company.

 

Trust in the Workplace

Trust is an abstract concept. It’s not something you can physically see or hear. Instead, it manifests in your organization’s experiences and relationships.

Workplace trust, specifically the trust of your employees, lays the foundation for a healthy and productive work environment. When people trust their leaders and coworkers, they feel a sense of confidence in their jobs.

Unlike other metrics that can be quantified and presented on a chart, trust is subjective. This makes it a tricky indicator to strive for. However, its difficulty is overshadowed by its benefits and implications within the workplace.

 

Benefits of Building Trust

When you successfully build trust, you are directly creating a positive employee experience. In turn, this can drive business growth and development.

You can enjoy the following benefits when you treat trust as a core value in the workplace.

 

1. Increased employee engagement and productivity.

According to research by Sloan Review, employees who trust their leaders are 260 percent more motivated to work than those who don’t.¹ They’re also 76 percent more engaged.² These impressive statistics can improve your operations’ overall success.

 

2. Enhanced creativity and innovation.

When leaders trust their people, professionals are given more freedom to experiment with their duties and company processes. They have the avenue to be more creative and innovative since they’re trusted to deliver quality work.

In this context, a leader who builds trusting relationships in their company can create a positive impact on their organization and allow their employees to strive for success.

 

3. Reduced turnover and increased retention.

According to Great Place To Work, companies that foster trust have 50 percent lower turnover rates than those that don’t.³ An average of 87 percent of their respondents even wanted to stay within their company longer. This increases employee retention and loyalty in the long run.

 

Making Trust the Core Value in the Workplace

Because of its subjectivity, how you can measure trust in the workplace might differ from other companies. So, instead of looking for an exact blueprint to follow, begin by understanding the three essential components of trust based on high-trust workplaces.

These three elements work together to create an environment where your people feel valued, empowered, and motivated to work. Treat them as your foundation for building trust within your workplace.

 

1. Credibility

This serves as the foundation of trust. It encompasses honesty, integrity, and consistency in both your words and actions. When employees see you as trustworthy, they are more confident in your intentions and decisions. This is crucial especially if your actions and direction will affect them.

 

2. Respect

A workplace that fosters respect values its employees’ unique perspectives and experiences. Related to this, respectful interactions can foster a sense of belonging and dignity. This ultimately creates an inclusive culture where all employees feel empowered to contribute their best work.

 

3. Fairness

Trust can only be achieved if you’re fair. Your employees will gain confidence in your leadership and decisions if you show equality and transparency. This includes making objective and impartial decisions regarding promotions, rewards, accommodation, etc. This also means being fair when your employees make mistakes. The goal is to treat everyone with equity and not show favoritism or varying treatment.

 

How To Build Trust in Your Company?

Building trust is not an initiative or a one-time program. It needs continuous actions and culture-building that goes beyond discussion. Here are the following steps you can take to improve employee trust and workplace relationships:

 

1. Establish clear lines of communication.

The cornerstone of building trust is creating open and transparent communication channels. Make sure your people have a way to share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions with you.

Whether you opt for regular team meetings or an established messaging platform, encourage conversations between your leaders and team members. This can help them feel valued and heard.

 

2. Practice active listening.

Communication lines are ineffective if you don’t encourage a two-way dialogue. More than just hearing what your people say, practice active listening.

Be a role model and demonstrate respect and value for what your people have to say. Make a conscious effort to generate a conversation. You can do this by asking follow-up questions and genuinely considering the input they’ve provided.

 

3. Personalize ways to show gratitude.

Recognizing and celebrating your people’s achievements can be a powerful way to build trust. By creating a workplace culture that appreciates employee milestones, you’re able to make them feel validated and valued.

Take time to plan employee recognition programs and award ceremonies during special occasions. It’s also important to do simple but personalized acts to show gratitude. This may be in the form of small tokens or personal conversations through chat. Help them trust you by showing you recognize their hard work.

 

4. Provide opportunities for growth.

Employees are more likely to trust an employer who invests in their personal and professional development. Offering opportunities for growth shows employees that your organization values their success and not just the company’s. Commit to helping your employees reach their full potential through training programs and mentorship initiatives.

Furthermore, do your best to involve them when deciding which programs to offer. Listen to their suggestions and feedback. They may already have a solution and idea in mind. So, make sure you respect their planned career paths. The more supported they feel, the more likely they are to trust that you have their best interest in mind.

 

5. Create a culture of error.

For many professionals, the fear of making mistakes stops them from being who they are at work. Aside from being less productive and innovative, being scared to make a mistake may even translate to distrustful and dishonest actions.

For example, professionals who make a mistake may lie and hide their errors just to stop you from finding out. To prevent this, it’s best to create a culture of error. Let your people view mistakes as a chance to learn. Lead by example and always encourage them to experiment if they see fit.

 

6. Embrace diversity in background and perspectives.

A diverse workforce brings a wealth of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to the table. Employers who actively embrace diversity and create an inclusive environment where employees feel valued and respected, regardless of their background, foster a sense of trust. This can involve implementing policies and practices that promote equal opportunities.

You can also provide diversity and inclusion training while encouraging open dialogue about different cultural perspectives. By celebrating diversity, you can demonstrate your commitment to creating a fair and equitable workplace. In turn, this can significantly enhance your employees’ trust.

 

7. Support advocacies with actions.

During different celebrations, organizations make the mistake of using buzzwords to support an advocacy without actually implementing impactful initiatives. In celebration of Pride Month, help build your people’s trust by being trustworthy yourself.

Support your advocacies with policies and practices your people can benefit from. Reinforce your words with viable actions. Through this strategy, you’re showing your people that they can trust you to stay consistent in your values, words, and actions.

 

BUILD A WORKFORCE YOU CAN TRUST WITH STRATEGIC SYSTEMS

Think of trust as a two-way street. It’s important to build trust with trustworthy professionals. This is where we can help.

Here at Strategic Systems, we put effort into finding the most reliable and competent employees. We strive to empower your business and meet your unique demands with a thoughtfully curated workforce.

Reach out to us today to learn more!

 

References

  1. Reichheld, Ashley, and Dunlop, Amelia. “How to Build a High-Trust Workplace.” MIT Sloan, 24 Jan. 2023, sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-build-a-high-trust-workplace.
  2. Zak, Paul J. “The Neuroscience of Trust.” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 2017, hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust.
  3. Hastwell, Claire. “The Business Returns on High-Trust Work Culture.” Great Place To Work, Apr. 2024, greatplacetowork.com.ph/blog/the-business-returns-on-high-trust-work-culture.