"Trust is like the air we breathe, nobody really notices, but when it’s absent, everybody notices." - Warren Buffet
Looking back at the ‘corona-times’ is only confirmation that Trust is key, and even more important now that ever before. Workplaces that have focused on building their trust levels in the past, will find it that bit easier to navigate their way through these difficult times. Crises provides unique opportunities to deepen trust with employees in ways that increase your people’s well-being and position you for business success when the crisis is over. All relationships are based on mutual trust. It is the fundamental condition for cooperation, collaboration and partnership. Trust is the belief we have in another person or in an institution. It is the core of the relationship. Experience can reinforce trust however false promises not only undermine but destroy trust.
The benefits of a high-trust culture can always be felt, but certainly in times of crisis:
1. Continuous improvement
If your organisation fails to invest in or listen to its staff and customers, there is little likelihood that you will be on the road to improvement. If you are not moving forward, you are probably falling back and not benefitting from the contributions of the people you employ. Trust is the platform to grow culture change through innovative continuous improvement. There is little hope for innovative change if people do not feel that their managers support them in this activity.
2. Adapting to change
‘High Trust’ organisations are able to implement changes much faster than their counterparts. Staff having management teams that they can trust makes uncertainty in business and the future an opportunity, rather than a challenge. Knowing ‘we are all in this together’, people will feel empowered to take thoughtful risks, try new ways of working, and examining better ways of delivering to their external customer or end user.
3. Team work and cooperation
When people trust each other, they move away from the silo mentality and start working together across boundaries. Building a ‘High Trust’ culture erodes the barriers that separate people by their specialism and starts to knock down the walls that sometimes exist between departments and specialisms. We know that trust encourages successful inter team co-operation, teamwork and building of a strong internal supply chain supporting those who consume our services.
4. Motivation and people management
Developing a culture of trust allows managers to ‘let go’ of their perceived need to over-manage, instead to encourage staff to form self-managed teams. This results in teams adopting their own self motivating practise and working with, rather than in spite of, each other.
5. Replacing control with trust
There is no longer a need for performance management to be a process for checking that people are doing what we need them to do. Performance management can become so much more positive and expansive and can develop a vision to KPI’s model where talents can be developed and retained in the business, reducing the need to lose your best people to competition. ‘High Trust’ organisations retain more of their talents and encourage likeminded individuals to choose employment with you because they know you have created a culture that fits with their values.
6. Stock market returns two to three times greater than the market average.
Investing in a high-trust culture is better for your business, now and in the years to come. Because the Great Place to Work® Institute has been collecting data for over 30 years, we’ve had the chance to study the last recession and what we learned was that Trust Index© results predict clear winners and losers following severe economic downturns. During the great recession the S&P 500 declined almost 36 percent while companies whose key employee groups had very positive experiences on the Trust Index© posted a remarkable 14.4 percent gain – going on to long-term recovery that was 4 times stronger than the market.
7. Turnover rates approximately 50% lower than industry competitors.
What if you could cut your staff turnover in half? Across industries we’ve found that a high-trust culture correlates to employee loyalty. At the companies with the highest levels of trust, an average of 87% say they “want to work here for a long time.” Why? Trusting your people to work autonomously creates a sense of community and helps build a healthy team spirit. Our research also shows that in high-trust work environments, people feel confident in themselves and each other. They create and innovate, and know that if they make a mistake, their team members will support them and see the situation as an opportunity for growth. These are all qualities that make employees want to stick.