Silhouette of people mountain climbing, one reaching up for a lift up from the other to build trust against sunrise.
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How to build trust with employees in a few easy steps

25 Jan 2019

Research shows that organisations work better when there is mutual trust between bosses and workers. Here is how you can build trust now.

As we have stressed ad infinitum here in the Careers section, relationships will be the glue that holds the workplace of the future together. Yes, artificial intelligence is continuing to get more sophisticated and, as such, the scope of what roles it can assume in the jobs market is broadening. But this doesn’t mean that organisations will no longer be defined by the people therein.

The key to working well with these people and retaining your employees is trust. If your employees trust you, they will follow your lead. With trust, they will feel they can come to you with issues before things escalate so much that they leave or suffer from burnout.

A whopping 93pc of workers say that being able to trust their boss is crucial to them remaining satisfied at work. Not only that, but companies in which there is mutual trust between employers, employers and colleagues report higher revenue than low-trust companies.

So, how do you build trust? It’s not quite the same as building trust with a friend or a partner, but the core tenets are very similar. It’s all about honesty, clarity, open communication and reliability.

One way to engender more trust in your employees is to show them the ‘big picture’. If they understand their organisation’s goals, both long-term and short-term, they will feel more included in the process and therefore more invested. Clarifying these goals will also help your employees understand why you ask them to do the things they do.

It may seem attractive to instead surround yourself with workers with a ‘soldier’ mindset who will be more willing to accept instruction without question. However, discouraging questioning tends to have the one-fell-swoop effect of also discouraging creativity and critical thinking, which are traits you want in the people in your firm.

Transparency will inspire trust without quashing critical thinking. People can still ask questions when they trust you, but they will also give your perspective more weight.

The expectations that you have for your employees should also be clear. This is just common sense; it is neither fair nor logical to have the people working for you shooting into the dark to meet key performance indicators. How are workers meant to know what is required of them, and therefore feel competent, if they have no concrete idea of what is expected?

It’s not just about you setting the scene, however. Employees can’t be talked at until they are moulded into trusting workers. They also need to be listened to and you should do so ‘actively’. Listening actively involves going beyond sitting dead-eyed and quiet while your employee talks. You need to ask open-ended questions that show you are receptive to their concerns and worries. Ask how their projects are going, about what they hope to improve upon and, most importantly, if there’s anything you could do or explain to make their job easier.

These are just a few of the small steps you can take to build trust with your employees. If you want more advice, you can check out the infographic below, brought to you by The Business Backer.

build trust infographic

Infographic: The Business Backer

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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