#Nextchat: Trust in the Workplace

"The surest way to make employees untrustworthy is to distrust them -- and to show it." - Henry Stimson

Trust is an essential ingredient to creating a healthy workplace culture. Organizations that hire, develop and recognize their workers based on respectful practices will enjoy greater levels of employee engagement and more success in their talent management strategies.

However, trust in the workplace has been eroding because of an increase in downsizings, acquisitions and new technology, and the constant fluctuations of an unstable global economy. It’s more important than ever that leaders overcome the communication, training and employee-relations issues that contribute to uncertainty and destroy a healthy culture.

Inspiring trust in your employees begins well before individuals join your company. A negative candidate experience is a red flag to applicants about the level of respect and courtesy that an organization probably extends to its own employees, and careless onboarding practices will certainly leave newbies with a feeling of “buyer’s remorse” after their first day.

Workplace expert Nan Russell in Psychology Today  states that even though employee engagement levels are at historic lows, “Lack of engagement is a symptom. The problem in most workplaces is distrust, not disengagement. Trust doesn't cause engagement; it's a requirement for it. Essentially, trust enables engagement. If you want engagement, you need trust.”

And how do workplace politics and gossip diminish trust even further? Mike Myatt, in his Forbes article “The Fastest Way to Kill Corporate Culture,” says: “Allowing gossip in the workplace is like encouraging your employees to swim with sharks. Let me cut right to the chase—real leaders don’t participate in gossip, and likewise they don’t tolerate gossip from others. Gossip destroys trust, assails credibility, and is one of the greatest adversaries of a healthy corporate culture. The emotional distress and political discord associated with gossip undermines workplace performance, and can be nothing short of disastrous."  

Leadership expert Susanne Jacobs identifies eight intrinsic drivers of trust that are necessary in the workplace:


What are you doing to inspire trust in your workplace, and if you have a problem in this area, what steps can you take to fix it?

Please join @WeKnowNext at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 22 for #Nextchat with special guest Drive Thru HR co-host and Next official blogger Nisha Raghavan (@theHRBuddy).

We’ll chat about what you’re doing in your organizations to inspire trust and thwart the bad workplace and leadership habits that are killing it.

Q1. Why are trust levels at such historic lows in our workplaces? What is causing the downward spiral?

Q2. What types of negative recruiting experiences can be initial red flags for new employees?

Q3. What types of negative onboarding experiences create trust concerns in new employees?

Q4. What poor leadership/management behaviors absolutely kill trust in the workplace?

Q5. Why do some highly political workplace cultures thrive? Does competition trump trust in some professions/industries?

Q6. How can organizations encourage greater trust among departments and teams?

Q7. What kind of training does your organization provide that reinforces character, integrity and trust-building skills?

Q8. How can a culture that is damaged by trust issues recover? What actions must be taken by leadership?


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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