Are you inspiring trust in the workplace?

January 10, 2018

Are you inspiring trust in the workplace?Image By REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock, Inc

In this article, I’m going to investigate signs that your workplace might be in need of a more transparent leader, and how that could help to build trust in your workplace.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an individual’s basic needs include food, water, warmth, rest, safety and security. In the majority of cases, by providing a living wage, and stable employment, an organisation can help an individual achieve all of the basic needs without too much difficulty. Herzberg’s two factor theory suggests that employees will actually become demotivated if their basic needs aren’t met. Unfortunately, needs above and beyond the basic can be much trickier to meet despite all your best intentions.

So, how can you encourage employees to build meaningful relationships and gain a sense of accomplishment, ultimately leading to their self-fulfilment? The answer I believe, is through transparent leadership. Transparency in leadership means being:

  • Open and honest;
  • Candid and approachable;
  • Focused and consistent.

Transparent leaders are unmistakable. They strive to promote trust in the skills of themselves and the skills of others, which can help create meaningful relationships between employees, leading to a sense of belonging. Trust and meaningful relationships in the workplace can transform a desolate room for bored and tired employees into a bountiful office for prolific workers.

It seems pretty obvious to suggest that an employee who has a more meaningful connection with their job has higher potential to be more productive, than an employee who does not. If all other needs are met, this could give an individual a true sense of accomplishment.

Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer whose clients include the Navy SEALS. She states in her book ‘Principled Persuasion’ that “building trust is important. Equally important is demonstrating trust.” She goes on to assert that “honesty has to be woven into the fabric of trust”, which reflects the need to be transparent. Dr. Caroselli also argues that it’s “better to promise less and deliver more than to promise more and deliver less.”

Here are signs that your employees don’t trust your leadership.

1. Resistance against decisions

Resistance to change can be expected, but it shouldn’t be occurring every time you make a decision or a minor change. If you constantly encounter a lot of negative feedback; a lot of employees not wanting to take part; or employees systematically slowing down their work rate to prove a point; then building the trust of those employees could help you out. Paul R. Lawrence said in Havard Business Review that “Common sense would suggest that people are more likely to respond to the way they are customarily treated—say, as people whose opinions are respected because they themselves are respected for their own worth”. Transparent communication is one way to show that you respect your employees, gain their trust, and get them participating in changes.

Some of our customers use the People HR news function as a great way of announcing and explaining decisions that will affect employees in the company. Adam from 1st technologies told us that his “communication is easier and more transparent” and that his “employees love having important company news and internal documents all in one centralised location”.

2. Consistent lateness & high absence rates

If your employees consistently turn up late, or don’t turn up at all, without notifying anyone, they might simply dislike their job. ACAS have a comprehensive guide to managing absences. If you read this guide, you might notice it centres around maintaining proper procedures, and keeping employees aware of these procedures.

Davinia from BPA Quality told us that “having a clear view of the heat map and being able to report on absence means that we are able to monitor this more effectively, and find hidden trends”. Adam from the charity Minstead Trust told us that over a period of 10 months from implementing the People HR solution, the charity’s attendance rocketed, with a 60% reduction in average Bradford Factor score. And the charity’s staff became happier working for the organisation. Ultimately, Adam’s staff turnover has decreased by 25%.

3. High staff turnover

According to ‘The Balance’, there are 18 tips to reduce staff turnover that they refer to as “common sense, basic solutions”. Most of their tips revolve around the basic needs of an employee.

Clare from Ella’s Kitchen told us, “Our buddies all use the system on an everyday basis, and with less time sunk into admin, we can now spend more time on projects that support our people and the growth of our business”. People HR allows you to keep logbooks, where you can see details such as the training an employee has received and the benefits they receive. This means that you can make sure all your staff are getting the training and benefits they are entitled to, to make them feel their needs are being met; which hopefully would lead to a lower turnover. Tacita from Ministry of Sound said that People HR “has helped us use HR to support our business growth and our employees all feel more connected with the business – they love the Self-Service functionality, and love that they can access its great modern interface using their smart phones”.

4. Low productivity

If your employees aren’t completing the work you set them, then perhaps they don’t take you seriously, or trust that you’ve got them doing the right jobs. Or perhaps they feel they don’t get the praise they deserve. Insperity give 8 reasons for productivity suffering, one of which is lack of acknowledgement.

Kay, from Diversity Travel said “the ‘Thanks’ functionality is likely to lift the mood of their staff and provide smiles throughout the office”. Also, Kate from Sid Valley Practice said “The Thanks page has really improved staff morale – it encourages them to praise each other! Staff love the ‘Thanks’ page and the news feed”.

Steve Benson, founder and CEO of Badger Maps told me, “There are many different reasons why employees might lose trust in leadership but it’s often due to poor (or a lack of) communication.” He adds that “I have seen this personally where an organisation loses a lot of its best people because they [the employees] thought things were really going off the rails, but in reality, those things they [the employees] were worried about weren’t all that material to the business’s overall performance.”

Mr Benson comes across as an advocate for transparency. “The best way a management team can minimise trust divides is by making time for communication on a regular basis, and then communicating clearly and openly. I keep communication lines open by setting aside time Friday afternoons for a TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) session, where we essentially have ‘open mic’ time. We discuss what is going on with the company overall and in the past week. I communicate anything from positive or negative news and updates to strategic or financial topics. We are a very transparent business and no topic is really off limits in these meetings. Depending on how transparent an organisation is, this can be a very effective way to regularly have a conversation with all your employees. It’s the best way to communicate clearly and solve the trust divide problem that I have experienced”.

What are your thoughts?

Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know your feedback.

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