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How to Build Trust at Work With Your Employees

Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney

The most trusted institution today is "my employer." Here's what this means for employers.

What is the most trusted institution today? According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, it’s “my employer.”

The Edelman Trust Barometer is a global report that measures trust respondents surveyed have in specific institutions and shifts in trust since 2001. Trust in social media has dropped this year, with 73 percent of respondents concerned about the impact of fake news.

As trust in social platforms declines, the Edelment Report finds that individuals are turning to relationships in their control and trusting their employers. Seventy-five percent of surveyed employees state that “my employer” is now their most trusted relationship. This contract is referred to as “Trust at Work.” Employees already put in the hard work for employers and their businesses.

What should employers do to continue investing in employee trust?

1. Lead change.

To increase employee trust, employers must be ready and willing to address five communications topics.

  • Societal impact. How does the business contribute to the greater good of society?
  • Values. What are the company’s values? What is its mission? What do you stand for and believe in?
  • The future. Does the business have a specific vision for the future?
  • Purpose. Why are you here? What are you working to accomplish?
  • Operations. What kinds of decisions can the business make that may affect the employee’s job?

How can employers lead on change in a manner that feels authentic to employees? Employers should set bold goals for the business. These goals become part of their overall mission and attract like-minded employees who share the same beliefs and values. They should also come from an aspirational place in leading on change. Times may be challenging, but there is hope that employees and employers can turn it around together.

 2. Empower employees.

Personal empowerment is a major thing that employees expect from their employers. They want to know what’s going on and have their voices heard.

There are a few ways employers can start creating inclusion opportunities. First up? Re-evaluate company culture. Does the workplace’s culture encourage feedback and input from one and all? How often does management communicate with employees about the organization’s changes?

Empowering employees with more information leads to creating opportunities for shared action. When employees are in the loop about decisions and changes, they feel confident that they have a voice within the company. As such, it becomes easier to get involved in the planning process and easier to give management their feedback.

 3. Start locally.

Everyone wants to do good on a global scale, but it’s also important not to forget about the communities outside of your own backyard. Employers that want to establish trust with employees quickly can start by solving problems at home.

What does the community you do business out of look like? If it has fallen on hard times or needs support, businesses local to the area can work to improve and support the community. Ultimately, this ties in with the communications topics in the “lead change” section. Activities that your business engages allow the company to communicate its value and mission. This helps spread awareness throughout the area. Word of mouth catches on about the business and its people, making the company more attractive to partner with and apply for employment.

 4. Focus on CEO leadership.

Strong CEOs often embody the values of their organization while living out their own values. They speak up on issues, regardless of how controversial said issues may be, that their employees care about and engage directly with their team. This kind of visibility allows employers to build trust with employees from the inside out.

Image Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock
Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney Member
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.