Taking Your Employees on Trust: How to Develop a High-Trust Business Culture

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Trust is crucial for a business’s continued success. As more and more of the workforce shifts away from menial tasks and toward knowledge-based work, employers will be increasingly expected to treat their workers with trust and respect. And we cannot forget the upcoming workforce generation.

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Taking Your Employees on Trust: How to Develop a High-Trust Business Culture

  1. 1. Taking Your Employees on Trust: Howto Develop a High-Trust BusinessCultureWhat place does trust have in yourbusiness culture? Do you trust youremployees with freedom andflexibility in their workingenvironment, or do you believe thatany leeway encourages them to takeadvantage of your business? Manycompanies strictly regulate theiremployees, but this often drivesemployees to act exactly as theemployer expects – which is, unmotivated and unscrupulous.On the flip side, high-trust companies often enjoy driven employees, highretention rates, and high financial returns. According to a study by RussellInvestment Group, Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America,which are characterized largely by their high-trust business cultures, earnedtwice the returns of the general market between 1998 and 2010. The BestCompanies also had half the turnover rate of the general population andreceived twice the number of applications for open positions.How do high-trust employee relationships translate into these hard returns?When employees feel like they are trusted, they are more likely to beengaged in their work, offer ideas and insights, and collaborate withcoworkers on projects. Additionally, having a high-trust business cultureleaves a good impression on suppliers, customers and prospects.Read on to gain some easy steps to foster transparency, respect, and workflexibility in your business.
  2. 2. TransparencyTransparency in the workplace should be the default. Employees should bekept informed of pay levels, leadership decisions, and the overall state of thecompany. Employers might be hesitant share the ups and especially thedowns of the company with their entire workforce, but informed employeesare more likely to be personally invested in the success of the company andbe willing to buckle down during a downturn. In my company, I makefinancial data available to any employee who wants to take a look.Several studies bear out my philosophy. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 48%of executives believe that a lack of transparency in communication will leadto higher turnover rates. Additionally, the Public Relations Society ofAmerica found a direct link between organizational transparency andemployee trust. Employees who are kept in the loop are more likely to feellike partners in your business – and that’s a good thing.RespectToo often businesses treat their employees as dependent workers whoshould be grateful for employment. At my company, I recognize that myemployees are volunteers who could easily find employment elsewhere.Businesses should treat their employees as responsible adults who want todo a good job – and most of the time, employees will prove them right.One of Google’s hiring practices is: “Hire people who are smarter and moreknowledgeable than you are.” Google believes that employees should be asource of insight and ideas for the company – and they are one of the mostsuccessful companies in the world. Instead of developing a workplacestructure with rigid divisions between departments, encourage fluid andcollaborative thinking across the entire workplace. And when an employeeoffers a great idea, implement it!Work FlexibilityMany low-trust organizations impose strict office hours enforced by badgeswiping. I’ve even heard of badges that won’t allow employees to enter thebuilding at 7:59 am, to ensure they won’t accrue even a minute of overtime.In this heavily regulated environment, employers often lose money throughemployee retaliative measures, such as buddy punching.
  3. 3. At the other end of the spectrum, high-trust companies are allowingemployees to work when and where they want. The Citrix Workplace of theFuture survey found that 24% of global companies allow their employees towork at times and locations of their choosing. This sort of flexibilityeliminates commuting costs and promotes a better work/life balance foremployees – and in turn, employees trust and appreciate their employersmore.Of course, high trust doesn’t mean that you should throw structurecompletely out of the window; employees can’t perform well if they don’tknow how to perform. Businesses should invest in flexible, integratedsoftware that tracks project progress and work costs across the whole oftheir workforce.Trust is crucial for a business’s continued success. As more and more of theworkforce shifts away from menial tasks and toward knowledge-based work,employers will be increasingly expected to treat their workers with trust andrespect. And we cannot forget the upcoming workforce generation.Generation Y is notorious for wanting to be able to work when, where, andhow they want. So, moving forward, trust is going to become a necessity.Reference: http://bit.ly/17oIawa

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