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Trust: the superglue your organization needs

Today’s news is all about a staffing shortage on a global level. There are several reasons for this, some related to the global health crisis, some to generational characteristics, and some to how certain jobs are perceived in society.

If your company doesn’t yet face this challenge, that is great! However, it’s still good to stay ahead of it and make sure you not only get to keep your top talent but rank as a good employer. In this way, people will be willing to apply when you need to hire.

Trust is one of the most important aspects to consider. What your existing employees say about you is paramount in building the right reputation on the market.

Trust levels are at an all-time low

The past couple of years have been difficult, to say the least. Edelman’s trust barometer for 2021 shows that trust levels have plummeted, both when it comes to governments and employers. It’s clear that people with poor information hygiene who do not check their sources and fall into the trap of sensationalist media are more distrusting than those who stay informed.

With this general disappointment in politics, people look to business leaders. The barometers indicate that 86 percent of those interviewed expected CEOs to take stands on “pandemic issues, societal issues, job automation and local community issues.” In contrast, 68 percent declared that CEOs should step in when governments fail to fix social problems.

Read more: The role of leaders in building trust within the organization

Transparency is the first step towards trust

Before solving society’s issues, business leaders need to grasp what’s happening in their own organizations. Building trust starts with being open about company decisions and developments. Nothing creates more chaos than rumor and uncertainty.

It’s also crucial to be transparent in terms of expectations – employees need to know what their objectives are and how these align with company goals. They also need feedback on their performance – constructive when something needs to be improved and the proverbial pat on the back for achievements.

The key is to communicate honestly and often to make people feel like they are seen and appreciated.

Read more: What you need to know about accountability in the workplace

Unity is crucial in turbulent times

It’s clear how having conflicting opinions on a matter can divide society. If the same happens within the organization, it can only be detrimental to employee morale. If employees separate into different sides, they can’t be steered in the right direction by the same leader.

Therefore, it’s important to nurture a spirit of unity, underline common elements, and encourage people to pull together, not apart. Divide and conquer doesn’t work if your own “army” is divided. It will easily turn catastrophic for business results. L&D departments can help by providing teambuilding workshops and projects that boost this essential skill.

Read more: Have you considered virtual team building?

Care and show it

In every feel-good movie about a fancy city executive going into a small community to get a division into shape, the protagonist goes from a cold, number-crunching individual to a wonderfully warm human being.

Granted, real life (and especially the present-day context) is no Hallmark movie. Yet, building trust requires showing employees that leaders and upper management genuinely care about them and their well-being even if they don’t know them individually by name.

This is reflected in the programs designed to boost satisfaction and in all the top to bottom communication. When it comes to team leaders, they need to take a more personal approach and genuinely show interest in their team members’ lives and aspirations.

Read more: The neuroscience of trust in a business organization

Respect your employees

Even if this is the final item, it’s highly important. The best way to show respect is to keep your word and don’t fail to show up in meetings when you know people have put time and effort into building presentations.

If you can’t avoid having to postpone, make sure you explain the reasons and apologize. Employees need to know you are aware of their efforts and deem their time as important as yours.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to listen to people and keep an open mind to their requests. It may not be easy under the current circumstances, but it’s the only way to make sure they feel genuinely respected.

Closing thoughts

Employee loyalty is highly valued, especially with the staffing shortage happening everywhere. Therefore, it’s important to build trust, and you can only achieve that by being transparent, caring, creating a sense of unity, and showing respect to your employees.

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