3 Ways to Build Trust Among Employees Some helpful reminders when navigating the two-way street of trust between employees and managers.
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Across the European Union, the outlook is bleak when it comes to employees feeling trusted in the workplace. According to a survey by the LSE Business Review in 2021, fewer than half of European employees feel trusted at work.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to gain employees' trust, demonstrate your trust in them, and strengthen their trust in one another.
1. Be honest and transparent.
There is a difference between true trust and comfort. It might seem counterintuitive to give totally honest feedback to a worker who is failing to meet standards, but by demonstrating you'll tell them the truth, even when it's uncomfortable, you're actually building trust.
During performance reviews or quick check-ins, outline what the employee is doing well and what they could work on — but be transparent about what the path forward looks like, how they can improve, and how you and your team will help them improve. Obscuring opinions or workflows will only cause more distrust, but showing honesty and teamwork as priorities will do the opposite.
2. Be human.
Here is where the comfort and warm feelings come in: Don't forget to be human in the workplace. You don't have to be a pushover, but you should model some relatability, either by remembering details about employees or being understanding when something comes up.
Schedule monthly work happy hours, for instance, to build relationships between team members and have plans in place that you can activate in the event a worker needs to miss a day for illness or another unexpected emergency. Communicate those plans in advance and let employees know that you remember they are people outside of the workplace, too.
3. Be receptive.
Being honest in your critique and praise is one thing, but being receptive to the opinions of your employees is another. You are the leader in the company, but you are still part of the team.
During check-ins or other planned meetings, open the floor to questions and comments, and be sure you follow up on any worthwhile suggestions. The perspective of employees is important, as they're doing much of the work for the organization, so strive to make the workplace one that is shaped by their needs so they can do their jobs.
Demonstrating that you hear their concerns and ideas shows that you trust them and will make them trust you in return.