Trust in the workplace
Trust in the workplace
Posted by Stuart Falconer • August 24, 2021

What do your employees think about their employment AND their employer? In fact, the question should be: ‘How do I know what employees really think?’ If your workplace environment and culture don’t provide staff with the opportunity to openly share their thoughts, why would they feel comfortable sharing them? For employees to be loyal and engaged, you need to cultivate trust in the workplace.

The role of managers

We all know that managers should be asking their staff what’s going on. However, for that relationship to be effective, it must be based on mutual trust in the workplace. In over 20 years in HR, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many managers I considered to be top notch, quality managers. (And that’s an entirely different blog post.) And the other managers? They were without the skill, authority or insight to be able to manage effectively. That doesn’t make them bad people, just lacking in some of the subtle nuances that would elevate them from being good managers to great managers.

Look at it this way, if you had an issue that was causing you a great deal of angst, maybe in your personal life, would you trust your manager with that information? Can you think of reasons why you wouldn’t trust your manager with certain information?

  • What will they do with that information?
  • Will they do the right thing?
  • Have they done the right thing before?
  • How will it affect me?

Of course, these are all ifs, buts and maybes. But that’s exactly what an organisation should be doing – considering the ifs, buts and maybes in order to build mutual trust in the workplace.

Get inside the heads of your employees

Identify what your company culture is and explore what your staff’s thoughts are. An anonymous staff survey is a great way to do this, especially if trust in the workplace currently leaves a lot to be desired. It will also give you an insight into how your current HR function is performing. The results might be surprising – and you may not like them! – but you will be in the position to do something about them. Remember though, a survey shouldn’t be a token gesture to show that you’re ‘listening’. You need to analyse the results, follow them up and make changes. Show that you’ve listened through your ACTIONS and you’ll gain the trust of your employees.

Policies can encourage trust in the workplace

It is vital to have policies in place that ensure all your staff are treated fairly and in the same way if issues arise. One of the many ways to destroy trust in the workplace is to treat employees differently, particularly when it comes to disciplinary proceedings. Having policies that encourage employees to speak out or ask for support are incredibly important, for example, whistleblowing, mental wellbeing and domestic abuse policies. Let your employees know that it’s safe to come forward to talk to you and that they can expect to be supported and treated appropriately.

How can we help?

Morgan Thomson HR can help you support your business and your employees. Whether that’s by conducting an employee survey, creating and reviewing policies or advising your business on increasing employee engagement – we’re here to help.  Please feel free to email me at Stuart.Falconer@morganthomsonhr.co.uk or pick up the phone for a chat: 0345 095 0139.