I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question or similar ones such as, “Where do I even begin and what’s the return on my investment?” My answer is simple. It’s not rocket science. Desirable relationships in the workplace (those built on trust) aren’t so different than those we desire in our personal lives (also those built on trust).
My colleague likes to joke about pulling our Trust index© Survey out of the workplace setting to take it with your spouse or partner. She imagines there could be some lengthy discussions on how you’re doing in the areas of recognition or communication. Kidding aside, we know that creating trusting relationships in your personal life increases the quality of those relationships. Similarly, the organizational benefits of developing high-trust relationships at work (with your employees, manager, fellow colleagues) include measurable increases in profitably, lower voluntary turnover and higher customer satisfaction; not to mention increases in the quality of your daily work experience.
Last year, we partnered with an educational institution to support them in building a workplace culture that was based on trust and worthy of Best Companies list recognition. After assessing the existing level of trust in their organization, their results were not as favorable as they had assumed, so leaders empowered managers to act upon their department results as long as they were aligned with organization-wide initiatives. At the six-month check-in session, several managers shared with us that it was more work than they originally expected, but the return on the investment had also been more than they anticipated – after just six months into their efforts! I’ve listed a sample of managers’ numerous actions below:
- Implemented feedback tools
- Revised Job Descriptions with metrics and duties
- Improved staffing during busy seasons
- Provided promotional salary increases for new Team Leads
- Enhanced morale by celebrating notable wins and birthdays with monthly luncheons
- Devised Cross-departmental collaboration and training opportunities
As a group, the managers have made incredible progress with measurable internal improvements and attributed it to the actions they took as a result of focusing on building trust with their employees. There is an energy, commitment and enthusiasm among managers that didn’t exist previously and oh, how we love fulfilling our mission!
This is just one of many stories I’m proud to report happen on a regular basis with organizations we partner with. We are committed to our social mission of creating a better society by helping to create great workplaces. Trust affects everything you do you from innovation to accountability and even your branding. We know that building a high-trust environment takes considerable effort, commitment and time, but the payoff is extraordinary. I encourage you to take a look at some of the outstanding companies that made our best companies lists.
The commitment we experience from companies determined to create a great workplace and the stories of how they got there is why we continue to do what we do. Can your company be great? We believe the answer is yes.
Alicia Lewis is a Business Development Advisor in Great Place to Work®'s US office.