Managers: Are You Building a Culture of Trust?

LAUREN O'DONNELL

Author

Lauren Wada

Author

LAUREN O'DONNELL

Author

CATEGORIES

Categories

We spend a third of our days at work on average. This work environment can either enhance or diminish employee morale and productivity in your company. Learning how to build trust with employees can improve productivity, engagement, and confidence.

Trust in any organization works on three levels:

  • At a company level in terms of culture
  • At a team level concerning the relationships among the members
  • At an interpersonal level between two people.

 

You can’t always control your organization’s level of trust, but you can certainly influence it by building trust in your immediate work environment.

Building trust with employees in a smaller unit where you have more control helps to propagate trust in the larger organization.

If an employee doesn’t trust their manager, the company suffers. Sure, ruling through fear works, but the employee will do the bare minimum amount of work needed to keep their job.

Building trust with employees is key to beating your competition, not to mention increasing employee retention.

 

5 ways leaders at all levels can create a culture of trust in the workplace

1. Be honest and supportive

Even when it’s difficult, tell the truth and not just what you think people want to hear. Understand what employees need to know and communicate facts while being considerate of their effort and sensitivity to their feelings.

Showing support and understanding for your team members, even when they make mistakes, goes a long way in building trust as a leader.

2. Listen

Actively listen and check for understanding by paraphrasing what you’ve heard. Use a variety of feedback tools to ensure everyone has the chance for their voice to be heard.

You must engage in dialogue with employees, giving them the opportunity to ask questions, get answers, and voice concerns. Then, apply what your internal stakeholders share for future actions.

3. Be consistent

Consistently doing what you say you’ll do builds trust over time – it can’t be something you occasionally do. Keeping commitments must be the essence of your behaviour, in all relationships, day after day and year after year.

4. Model the behaviour you seek

Nothing speaks more loudly about an organization’s culture than the leader’s behaviour, which influences employee action and has the potential to drive their results.

If you say teamwork is essential, reinforce the point by collaborating across teams and functions. Give credit when people do great work and you’ll set the stage for an appreciative culture.

5. Build in accountability

When you and other leaders acknowledge your mistakes as well as successes, employees see you as credible and will follow your lead.

You can encourage honest dialogue and foster accountability by building in processes that become part of the culture. For example, evaluate every project (positives, negatives, things to change) or a status report and next steps in each meeting agenda (tracking deadlines and milestones).

You build and maintain trusting relationships and a culture of trust in your workplace one step at a time through every action you take and every interaction you have with your co-workers and employees.

Trust may be fragile, but it can grow strong over time with the deliberate efforts above. Check out the many benefits trust brings to a workplace.

 

Manager behaviours that build a culture trust

Ask yourself these questions to assess your personal behaviour and learn how to create an awareness of the daily practices that encourage a culture of trust in your workplace.

  • Am I listening to my employees and seeking their ideas, suggestions and opinions?
  • Am I open to employee ideas and including those ideas in the decision-making process?
  • Am I setting and communicating consistent expectations regarding team and individual performance objectives?
  • Do I tell employees the truth and follow through by doing what I say I am going to do, even when it is difficult?
  • Am I treating everyone with the same dignity and respect that I expect and would like to receive without revealing bias, judgment or personal favouritism?
  • Are my career goals or a personal agenda interfering with my team’s performance and commitment to my employees’ success?
  • Do I demonstrate concern and caring for each employee, workgroup and department?
  • Do I set a good example and conduct myself in a manner consistent with the organization’s mission, vision, and values?

 

Trust must be earned. It comes from a conscious effort to walk your talk, keep your promises and align your behaviour with your values. Building trust is worth the effort because once trust is lost, it can be very difficult to recover.

Determine if your organization is a high-trust culture

Reach out to us about our culture management platform so you can decode the levels of trust in your workplace – and how to grow it. 

LAUREN O'DONNELL

Lauren Wada

Rhea is a trusted solutions architect who enjoys co-creating with clients their people strategy to transform the vision for their organizations into a reality.  She has 25+ years of experience in leadership, human resources and organization development consulting working with private and public organizations across various industries in the Philippines and ASEAN.  Rhea is a certified Transformative Coach, a mentor to aspiring leaders and an advocate for employee wellbeing. “Every employee has a story and each story matters when it comes to shaping workplace culture. My commitment is to help my clients know these stories and discover its power.”  When off-line, Rhea connects with the environment through long-distance running and recycling bottles and plastic, a personal mission to help save the planet one bottle at a time.

Categories

CTA GOES HERE

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.

The data science behind this list from Great Place To Work®

Great Place To Work® has been surveying employees around the world about their workplace experiences for 30 years. We have developed a set of themes and metrics that not only predict whether employees feel their workplace is great, but predict retention, agility, and overall business success.  

Using our proprietary Trust Index™ survey, we measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces — key behaviors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.  

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a five-point scale and answering two open-ended questions.

Employees tell us whether leaders are accessible, communicate honestly and clearly, and if their actions match their words. They tell us whether they feel respected as individuals, if they receive training benefits, appreciation, support for their well-being and opportunities to contribute. They tell us whether they believe their company is fair related to pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favoritism and opportunities. They tell us if they are proud of their work, their team, and their company, and if they feel they make a difference and their work is meaningful. And they tell us whether they enjoy the people they work with, feel cared for and can be themselves.  

List rankings are based on this employee feedback, which we analyze to determine the extent to which this experience is shared by the full workforce. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience. Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. 

The best companies create great work experiences not just for management, but also for their part-time employees on the front lines, for those who’ve just joined and those who’ve spent their whole career there, for every race and ethnicity, gender, neurotype, or other demographic in the organization – we look at it all. Companies with the broadest set of employees who report positive workplace experience receive the highest rankings on lists.

In addition to analyzing employee feedback, for National List’s for companies in the Medium and Large size categories, we also consider what a company can tell us about their programs and workplace strategy. Each company also answers six essay questions that provide greater insight into how, and why the organization is great for all people. Responses are rigorously evaluated and cross-reviewed according to Great Place To Work’s research-driven criteria. From what companies share in datapoints and essays, we identify the organizations that offer the most generous, caring and innovative cultures that reflect a genuine commitment to meet the diversity of their people’s needs inside and outside the workplace as validated by what employees themselves report in survey results.
Where an industry list is being revealed (i.e. Healthcare, Technology) additional information provided from an organization in the form of a culture audit will not be considered; rather we analyze employee feedback from the Trust Index survey with the above methodology.

Because employee feedback drives these rankings, surveys must meet strict requirements for how they are distributed and the percentage of employees who respond to ensure they accurately represent honest feedback from the company’s full population. To be eligible for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™, have 10 or more employees in the country they are being Certified, and be operating in the industry relevant to a specific Industry list if applicable (i.e. Healthcare, Technology). If categories are being listed within a National list, category break downs are as follows: Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category. Some lists in certain countries may combine categories in which case that will be specified in the list breakdown.
While essay responses provide important context for rankings, only survey data can garner a list placement.