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Building Trust In The Workplace: 5 Things You Need To Know

Maddie Brindley-Slater
7 April 2022

There’s one thing every successful team has under their belt and that is high levels of trust. As with all good partnerships, trust is one of the key foundations for success and should be an essential part of your business.

Trust can be defined as an understanding between multiple parties that each individual can be relied on to fulfil one’s needs and expectations. It is based on previous interactions and is built up over a period of time, therefore it needs to be earnt and maintained. To have trust is to have faith that you understand and can rely on the other party.

The keys to building trust lie in several key areas, once these areas have been mastered – you’re all set! Without further delay, let’s take a look at why strong workplace trust is so important and how you can go about building it.

Why is trust in the workplace important?

In short: it helps to improve employee engagement rates and creates an agile, high performing workforce. Trust needs to be experienced by all group members for your team to be unified and resilient.

Creating a culture of trust allows your teams to feel confident that no matter what they do, they will receive support, honest feedback and reliable participation from those they work with.

A team can only take a business so far if trust is lacking; lack of trust harbours a weak environment for growth and can lead to splintered teams.

The evidence surrounding the importance of workplace trust is clear for all to see, with studies showing that companies with a trusting environment see 74% less stress than those with poor trust levels. This statistic shows that trust is arguably one of the most important areas that can impact a business in the long term.

How to build trust in the workplace

Trust in workplace 2

Be honest

At the top of our list is the need for honesty. Honesty lays the very foundations for trust, so without it, you’re off to a wobbly start.

Being sincere and transparent with other members of your business helps to boost your integrity. An honest environment makes for a strong work environment. Not only does it go a long way in helping employees know where they stand, but it also helps to make your teams feel safe and secure.

This is particularly true when providing feedback, any constructive criticism needs to be fair and honest, combining both strengths and any weaknesses in one.

If dishonesty has led to fractured trust amongst your team in the past, make a point of smoothing over any past issues and starting afresh. Your team members will appreciate the gesture and will feel more engaged and motivated as a result.

Get to know your team

Ensuring you know and understand your team members goes a long way toward building trust. By ensuring everyone is on the same page, you’re creating a stronger, unified culture and shared values.

Teams that understand one another better are said to operate with a ‘shared identity.’ These teams often fair better when it comes to business results because of the identification with one another as a group.

By ensuring you know your team members, you are creating the best possible chance of growing your team relationships - ultimately improving trust levels.

Show you are committed to understanding your teams and you’ll go a long way to building trust amongst your workforce.

Stick to your word

Being reliable is a core factor for building trust in the workplace. Sticking to your word includes consistently meeting expectations, finishing deadlines on time and delivering results in the agreed manner.

Your teams want to feel safe and secure that you are sincere in what you’re saying. They want to feel that you can be relied on as a team member, so consistency with your commitments is absolutely key here.

Of course, it is not always possible to stick to intended results, but teams with high trust levels are honest and communicate openly with one another. To avoid upset and disappointment, take care to share regular updates and be sure to be upfront about any hiccups as soon as possible.

Sticking to your word whilst keeping your teams in the know rather than in the dark can massively help to build up trust.

Prioritise communication

Consistent and reliable communication is an integral part of building a trusting atmosphere in the workplace. Reliable communication means your team members are confident that you will deliver clear instructions, whilst being comfortable discussing concerns and issues freely and honestly.

As communication is one of the core elements for building up trust, if you’ve previously lost trust in the past due to a lack of clarity, make sure to focus on this area.

Being upfront and clear with communication is an easy way to build trust, so ensure you prioritise communication amongst your teams.

Be fair

Remaining fair at all times is a crucial element to building trust amongst your teams. If members of the business feel singled out or poorly treated, address these concerns transparently in the fairest manner possible.

Team members can feel deflated in the event of biased treatment; in fact, unfair treatment in the workplace is one of the leading signs of a toxic culture, ultimately leading to a higher company turnover.

Make sure that when you set out to work with a team you are operating in the fairest manner possible and all members of the team are treated in the same way. Your integrity can have a serious impact on trust.

Work with a coach & mentor

If your teams are struggling to perform to their maximum ability due to workplace trust issues, you could benefit from the help of a specialist business coach and mentor.

With an array of business leaders, mentors & coaches within our network, our team are dedicated to matching your business with the best support, whatever factors are at play in your unique scenario.

Speak to our friendly team here, who will be happy to help. Alternatively, you can read lots more helpful articles on our blog here.

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