The Secret to Establishing Trust in the Workplace

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How to Be the One Employees Trust

A crucial part of building a solid reputation as a preferred place to work is trust. Anyone can see how trust is beneficial in the workplace. Employees who trust their bosses are more confident following their leadership. No one wants to work under leaders they are suspicious of, and workers won't stay long in an environment that lacks trust.

Establishing TrustBut, trust isn't something that is automatic. In the workplace, establishing trust can be complicated. Workers may have been burned by supervisors in the past or may simply never have experienced trust at work before. On top of that, secrecy, rumors and fear abound in many companies, threatening the development of trust. They spread like a virus through organizations, knocking down years' worth of good relationships and attacking productive, engaged employees.

But there's good news. Employers can utilize a secret weapon to establish trust with employees: communication. Communication is the antidote to a workplace without trust.

So how can you communicate with your workforce in a way that builds trust? Focusing on communicating with openness, honesty and integrity will unlock the door to a world where trust flows freely between workers and bosses. In turn, the goodwill this trust creates will ensure your employees are productive, active and proud to work for you.  

Be open.
Being open means communicating with employees consistently, no matter what. It also means that you listen when employees offer comments and feedback, instead of simply acting on your own impulses. Openness is especially important during times of change. Openly communicating change to your workers can save you from having to deal with nasty secrets that often divide the workplace.

Sadly, this tip is not always well received. Many organizations fear that openness leads to vulnerability that they believe will weaken the company. But what most don't realize is that when the lines of communication between management and the workforce are down, defensive walls arise and get in the way of trust.

Be honest.
Openness is a good place to start, but it can't stand alone. Simply telling employees that changes are coming isn't enough. You must be honest about what these changes will be. Lack of honesty fuels the rumor mill because it forces employees rely on hearsay and gossip.

For example, if you tell employees that budget cuts are coming but neglect to tell them details about issues like layoffs, employees will fear the worst. Speculation will run wild, causing drastic damage to your workforce. Communicating honestly can be challenging, but in the end, it pays off as your employees learn they can trust you to tell them the truth, whatever it is.

Have integrity.
Communicating is about more than the words you say. Your actions also communicate a great deal to your employees. That's why acting with integrity is a crucial part of establishing trust through communication.

Simply stated, acting with integrity means that you treat people the way you want to be treated, no matter what. This means keeping promises, being consistent in how you treat your employees and acting ethically in your business decisions. For them to trust you, your people need to know you have their best interests at heart and not just the bottom line. Those who treat their workers with integrity will find that they are paving the groundwork of trust.

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