How to Build Trust in Your Workplace: 17 Ways You Can Start Today
68% of employees are looking for a new job, a number that has shot up in executives' eyes in the past few years. Why is this?
Employees face a high degree of uncertainty in the workplace today. The pandemic, inflation, and ambiguous return-to-office policies only add to the confusion.
Unfortunately, managers and executives underestimate this emotion– a deadly mistake. Not knowing where you stand regarding job security and career growth can be scary and reduces workplace trust to nil.
The only way out?
With better transparency and benefits being offered, along with a solid effort to build trust in the workplace.
Are you struggling to build trust in your workplace?
It can be tough to earn the respect and confidence of your co-workers. Still, it's an essential ingredient for a healthy and productive work environment.
In this article, we'll:
- Walk you through the value of your employees trusting you.
- Share 17 actionable insights you can start implementing today to build trust in your workplace. From transparent communication and honesty to accountability and active listening, we've got you covered.
🥳 What is trust in the workplace?
Trust in the workplace ensures that everyone can work together effectively and efficiently.
Trust stems from mutual respect, understanding a shared vision, and the ability to rely on each other's strengths to reach a common goal. It also involves learning to let go of control over certain aspects and trusting that team members will carry out their roles effectively.
Trust can affect how employees communicate, collaborate, and make decisions within a company, and is an important factor in creating a positive work culture.
Without it, skepticism dominates the environment and makes progress difficult. Plus, a lack of trust is the founding ingredient for micromanagement.
Working together with mutual trust leads to:
- strong relationships;
- fewer conflicts;
- higher engagement;
- better productivity.
In contrast, a lack of trust can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and a negative work environment.
💸 The ROI of building trust in the workplace
Building trust requires specific actions, such as fostering a culture of transparency and open dialogue initiatives.
However, it's well worth the effort to nurture workplaces that inspire collaboration and respect - just look at your financial bottom line!
Trust is one of the five workplace needs
A study by EY shows that trust within the workplace is essential for success, both collectively and individually:
- Trust creates a safe space for employees to develop their skills and strive for better performance.
- When there is trust at work, people are more open to communicating productively.
- Co-workers can collaborate on projects or provide feedback without fear of judgment or recrimination.
- Trust also allows employers to improve the employee experience by delegating responsibility and authority so they can work independently.
Trust enhances teamwork and productivity
When employees feel a high level of trust in one another, it inspires them to bring their best work to the table and motivates them to achieve their goals.
Trust also helps to enhance the overall effectiveness of the group and can lead to less tension between team members, leading to a more productive working environment and higher employee morale.
Trust increases resilience when times are tough
Trust also helps to create psychological safety and an environment of support where colleagues can be vulnerable and open with one another.
The collaborative teamwork needed during challenging times leads to more effective problem-solving, resulting in better business outcomes during those dark moments.
When you can address issues or questions quickly, it helps your team work more efficiently. However, it can be hard to have open and honest communication without trust.
Effective delegation requires building and keeping trust
Though it may feel easier to do the work yourself, delegating is essential to help lighten the workload and build relationships within the team.
But here's the thing - delegation only works if you have trust between team members.
You must trust that your team members can follow through on their assigned tasks with quality results. Otherwise, you'll end up micromanaging your people, even if you delegate tasks.
Building trust increases new hire retention
Building trust with the new hire demonstrates that the team values their contributions and encourages them to stay for the long term. Open communication, accessible resources, and recognizing success create trusting relationships.
These methods show the employee that you want them to be successful and that they can rely on the support of their colleagues within the workplace.
Tip: Teams should adjust their expectations of new hires to give them adequate time to settle into their role.
🔍 3 Types of trust
Workplace trust relies on these different forms of trust in tandem—it's an intricate web to maintain but one that may reap huge benefits over time.
Interpersonal trust is essential when employees collaborate and rely on each other's work. Without it, you or your employees would not be able to operate as one collective whole and instead only focus on individual achievements.
Everyone needs to be sure that when working together, their peers are dedicated and reliable to complete any project successfully.
Tip: Encourage faith in each other's capacity and keep track of what everyone is doing so that successful outcomes can result from collective effort.
When leaders demonstrate trust in their workforce, it increases the likelihood of giving their staff autonomy and the support they need to meet organizational goals.
To build trust among employees, it is essential that managers make decisions fairly, communicate openly, and make honesty a priority.
Trust is key when working on a sensitive or complicated project. Such tasks typically require much cooperation and mutual understanding to ensure successful outcomes.
Without trust, things can get bogged down in misunderstandings and conflict.
Without trust present beforehand, such crucial work can become mired in opposition and miscommunication.
But when you have trust, it's easier to focus on the task at hand and not get sidetracked by disagreement or personal issues. Building task-specific trust can help your team tackle even the most complex assignments with cooperation and mutual understanding.
🏗️ 17 Ways to build trust in your workplace
1. Set the right expectations from Day 1
Employee onboarding is an invaluable asset to any organization - it helps orient the newest team members, introduces them to the company culture, and sets expectations for the role they have taken on.
Tip: A well-structured employee onboarding process can significantly transform a business's success by encouraging involvement and providing clear expectations from day 1.
Set up a system that allows for a smooth transition for incoming employees. Ensure that they benefit from effective training programs and understand their goals from the beginning of the working relationship.
2. Get to know your team
Getting to know your team means:
- Understanding how each individual brings unique skills to the table.
- Discovering common goals and objectives.
- Ensuring everyone is on the same page for group projects and task completion.
Take the time to get familiar with each teammate to:
- Build trust.
- Establish open communication.
- Encourage a high-functioning team atmosphere where everyone contributes best.
3. Encourage people to build genuine relationships
When we meet with the people who will be our friends and colleagues, we gain a greater understanding of eye contact, body language, communication techniques, and other softer skills that are hard to master without being present with them in person.
Advocating for timely meetings as opportunities to build quality relationships can make all the difference in successful interactions down the line.
➡️ Check out Zavvy's "Conversations That Matter" program. Connect colleagues for conversations that go beyond the usual small talk. Foster empathy and strengthen interpersonal bonds.
Tip: Don't forget about your remote workers.
➡️ Check out our guide on integrating remote hires into your culture, team, and processes.
4. Host team-building events
Hosting team-building events can allow everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level, making it easier for them to work together as a team.
Employee engagement activities should be tailored to the group's type of work, as this will lead to greater productivity during office hours.
A simple example of this: Ensuring that no one person dominates games or exercises teaches mutual respect.
Focusing on specific aspects of team-building activities will help you mirror the same elements at work.
Even something as simple as organizing an after-work outing fosters an atmosphere of camaraderie. It also helps co-workers come together as one cohesive unit.
5. Lead by example in the spirit of your company's values
Create a culture that aligns with the stated values to create an environment that encourages employees to apply their creativity, strive for excellence, and be team players.
Making sure everyone understands your commitment to the core values will empower them to make decisions based on those values and incorporate them into their day-to-day work lives.
With this, everyone at the company can ensure they are contributing to a shared vision and creating collective success.
6. Be honest: admit when you were wrong or when you don't know something
Admitting when you don't know something or are wrong shows integrity and self-awareness, traits that will reflect well upon you in any situation. Making mistakes is a natural part of growing and learning, so it's only human to be wrong from time to time.
Instead of trying to cover up mistakes, take responsibility for them and try to learn from them. We can all use opportunities like these as learning experiences and grow into more competent people because of them.
Tip: Always acknowledge when you don't have enough information, remain humble, and create a safe environment for others to do the same.
7. See the value of each team member
When working on a team, it is vital to recognize each member's unique contributions and strengths.
When everyone takes the time to truly see their peers' value, the team can reach its potential.
Tip: Let go of preconceived notions about individuals and give them positive recognition for their efforts to benefit the group.
8. Celebrate achievements
Celebrating achievements boosts the morale of everyone involved, creating a warmer and more supportive workplace.
From gaining an impressive deal to making a successful presentation, you should recognize and celebrate your people's successes.
Tip: Celebrations such as team lunches or after-work drinks go a long way in reminding each member that they are appreciated and vital to the team's progress.
💡 We collected 42 meaningful employee recognition ideas to boost engagement in your organization. So you'll definitely find some ideas for your recognizing your people.
9. Encourage knowledge sharing and coaching
Everyone has something to offer, whether it's insider information or personal anecdotes that can help create a valuable culture of learning.
Building a positive and encouraging knowledge-sharing environment helps employees feel comfortable taking risks and speaking up. Coaching can also be beneficial by helping staff become more confident in their abilities and better at addressing problem areas.
➡️ Discover a step-by-step process to enable a knowledge-sharing culture in your organization.
10. Ask for opinions and take them seriously
One of the best strategies to enable listening to a wide range of feedback regularly is to use an efficient 360 feedback system (like Zavvy).
This type of system allows employees, managers, and colleagues to provide anonymous feedback that can help you:
- Identify areas for improvement.
- Give recognition where desired.
- Build trust within the organization.
With this method of collecting insights, it becomes easier for you to consider all perspectives before you make decisions.
11. Give others a chance to talk and listen with the intent
Creating a thriving work atmosphere necessitates that everyone respects one another and acknowledges the unique skills and perspectives each person contributes. Giving others a chance to talk and listen with intent is important in this process.
In fact, active listening—through demonstrations of understanding, attention, and empathy—can increase productivity levels and collaboration efforts by engaging everyone's ideas.
This practice can foster an environment where employees take ownership and pride in their contributions. At the same time, they become more committed to achieving organizational goals.
Tip: Allowing people to express themselves, to establish common ground can be an invaluable part of team dynamics.
12. Be consistent and follow through on promises
Staying true to your word should always be a high priority; this sets a positive example for others and will earn you respect from your co-workers.
It also demonstrates that you can take ownership of tasks and responsibilities with enthusiasm will show that you are trustworthy, responsible, and dependable.
Consistency in the workplace makes for an efficient working atmosphere; it shows dedication to the job and assures others that they will meet any commitments.
13. Extend empathy to others and show you care
In this world of intense competition and long work days, it's more important than ever to remember the importance of extending empathy to those around you. Building solid relationships with colleagues fosters a sense of community.
Tip #1: Take time to ask about how others are doing.
Tip #2: Recognize successes and offer encouragement when things aren't going great.
Big or small, gestures like these help create an environment conducive to productivity, personal growth, and positivity.
14. Create an inclusive culture
There are three simple ways to get started with this:
- Educate yourself or enlist help from diversity and inclusion experts to create policies that promote respect, acceptance, and appreciation of differences.
- They can also help you recruit diverse talent that brings different skill sets and perspectives to the table.
- It's essential to create space for open dialogue where employees feel comfortable raising their worries or pointing out potential improvements.
Doing all of the above will lead you toward creating a work culture where everyone feels safe and increase employee retention.
🌈 Learn about 32 ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your workplace.
15. Empower your team by trusting them first
Leaders who demonstrate trust in their team empower them to:
- Rise to any challenge.
- Think innovatively.
- Make confident decisions.
By creating an environment where these behaviors are encouraged, strong teams can take more ownership and derive more satisfaction from their tasks.
All it takes is tenacity and assertiveness to empower everyone and move towards greater success as a group.
16. Give employees the benefit of the doubt
Acknowledging employees' efforts and giving them the benefit of the doubt can make all the difference in a business.
Situations may not always go as planned in the workplace, and it is essential to take an understanding approach when working with employees.
Showing appreciation for their hard work even when outcomes don't meet expectations will encourage them to do their best and build trust in the workplace.
Tip: Share constructive feedback, emphasizing the room for improvement, so employees are motivated by a positive outlook on future projects.
With solid leadership, respect between management and workers can grow to ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their part when things don't turn out as expected.
17. Communicate effectively and be transparent
Open communication is essential for successful relationships, both professionally and in your personal life.
- Being transparent allows others to understand the context of any conversation and builds trust between the parties. You'll create a shared understanding, increasing the possibility of successful communication.
- It helps to identify areas of agreement or disagreement more quickly.
Tip: Listening carefully before responding is vital to ensure effective communication.
➡️ Build trust from day 1 with Zavvy
Whether it's transparency or collaboration, fostering trust can enable employees to work together effectively.
Our employee enablement platform has resources perfect for creating a culture of trust within your workplace. It caters to the four main aspects of trust-building:
- onboarding efficiently;
- listening to understand;
- encouraging career growth;
- connecting on a deeper level.
1. Build trust with new hires with our intuitive onboarding software.
There are two pointers when it comes to making your new hires comfortable and efficient faster:
- Don't overwhelm them.
- Give them all the tools and help they need.
2. Listen to the voices of your employees with our 360 feedback collection system.
Gathering feedback is crucial to the second aspect of trust building– listening to understand. Our platform focuses on making feedback as easy to collect as possible while ensuring anonymity for everyone.
3. Create a culture of growth with our employee development software.
If you don't nurture your employees, they'll feel neglected and even inadequate in the long run.
4. Build meaningful connections with our connection programs.
A team's success depends on how cohesive they are, not just how efficient they are by themselves.
Build trust and set your employees and business up for success with Zavvy. Book a demo now!