Working with people that have your back improves results and creates the kind of environment where everyone can thrive. But it doesn’t just happen so, by building trust in the workplace you can become a better leader.

Building Trust in the Workplace helps attract and retain top talent- Amy Hirschi-Unsplash
Building Trust in the Workplace helps attract and retain top talent- Amy Hirschi-Unsplash

A team that doesn’t have each other’s back can be difficult to manage. Everything is easier when everyone can focus on what they’re supposed to be doing instead of looking over their shoulder or worrying about outshining everyone else. It’s also much more likely to build long-lasting connections with people who have been a part of your professional ––and often personal–– growth.

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Why Building Trust in the Workplace Makes Everyone Better

There is plenty of evidence that reinforces how building trust in the workplace can help you become a better leader. It’s not just about your team members supporting each other, but also about everyone knowing that they have the full support of their manager, team leader, or employer. This doesn’t mean supporting everyone blindly, of course, but it does require an open and constant communication were receiving and applying feedback is routine.

According to the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer, which surveyed 32,000 employees across 28 countries, trust in companies declined almost 10 points over the past decade. Unsurprisingly, companies and leaders that can’t be trusted have trouble hiring and retaining their talent. In fact, a recent survey shows that retaining and engaging employees has become the top priority for 60% of the CEOs interviewed by Chief Executive Logo in January.

Research by the MIT Sloan School of Management Review shows that trust is a key driver of engagement at the workplace. And while they found that one in four employees don’t trust their employers, their research shows that trusting employees are 260% more motivated, have 41% lower rates of absenteeism, and are 50% less likely to go looking for another job. PwC’s 2023 Trust Survey reported that 91% of the participating business executives believe lack of trust, among other things, limits a company’s ability to attract and retain talent.

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Never underestimate the power of building trust in the workplace- Photo Credit- Ronda Dorsey-Unsplash
Never underestimate the power of building trust in the workplace- Photo Credit- Ronda Dorsey-Unsplash

Tips to Building Trust Successfully in the Workplace

  • Good Communication: Make time to talk to everyone one-on-one and have honest and transparent conversations. Communicate frequently and openly with your team, sharing results, timelines, relevant information, and important updates about their projects. This will help them feel involved and appreciated, as well as safe in the knowledge that they are being listened to and are part of the bigger picture. Share the good and the bad.
  • Foster real personal connections: Things like team-building activities, hosting a company barbecue, or some kind of sporting event can let everyone chat and get to know each other in a more relaxed setting. Team members who care for each other outside of work can foster deeper connections that make for better results and create a more comfortable and safer environment for more diverse workforces.
  • Set the example: It’s not just about encouraging others to talk to you or to participate in the office’s softball game, but about setting an example that makes it a little easier for everyone to be open and earnest. If you are involved and engaged, it’s far more likely that they will feel like they can rely on you. Own up to mistakes when you make them, share credit when someone’s input has a positive impact, be approachable, and be willing to provide and listen to feedback and ideas.
  • Delegate strategically: Real connections will help you know your team and recognize their strengths. This will come in handy when the time to delegate tasks comes and you are able to do so strategically. Help your team members grow and learn by assigning tasks that will let them shine and serve as an exercise to polish their skills and talents.
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  • Be fair and inclusive: It’s understandable that sometimes there will be MVPs in your team but be sure to give everyone an opportunity to learn and shine and don’t always favor the same teammates. Make sure all voices are being heard and being considered. Your employees are more likely to trust you and the value of their work if they can see everyone is getting the same attention and opportunities. And always encourage collaboration.
  • Allow and encourage growth: One way to make sure that employees will stick around, and that new talents will want to join, is by being the kind of workplace where growth is encouraged. Making sure employees are learning and staying up to date on all the developments in their area of work can help them grow personally and professionally, which will also help them feel safe and protected.
  • Recognize and reward excellence: PwC’s 2023 Trust Survey shows that while 86% executives highly trust their employees, only 60% of those employees think they are seen as very dependable. Call attention to positive outcomes and successful projects and celebrate those who help make them happen. Don’t just provide feedback when something can improve. When employees feel valued and recognized, trust is strengthened.
Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Mexico City-born freelance writer, translator, ghostwriter, editor and Red Shoe Movement contributor with a love of live music and graphic novels. Has collaborated with Yahoo!, Blouin Artinfo, Yahoo! en Español, Savvy Heels, Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) among others.

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