Building Trust and Connection within your Organization

“There are three qualities a leader must exemplify to build trust: competence, connection, and character.” – John C. Maxwell

With employees returning to the office and a recession on the rise, we have heard trust and connection are a struggle in many organizations.

Employee disconnection is one of the main drivers of voluntary turnover, with lonely employees costing U.S. companies up to $406 billion a year. (Source: HBR)

Trust and connection go hand-in-hand when building the foundation of an organization and set the tone for company culture and success.

What are the benefits of having a high-trust organization? According to a study in Harvard Business Publishing, people at high-trust companies report the following:

  • 74% less stress.
  • 106% more energy at work.
  • 50% higher productivity.
  • 13% fewer sick days.
  • 76% more engagement.
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives.
  • 40% less burnout.

In low-trust organizations, employees are often occupied by office politics and are more likely to withhold information and resources, which makes decisions slower and less effective. Micro-managing is also more common, and employees are typically less engaged.

So how do you ensure you have a high-trust organization? In this Inc. article, they have outlined tangible ways to promote trust and connection.

  • Inclusivity, Support, and Acceptance – When it comes to offering thoughts and ideas, employees must feel comfortable sharing without concerns of dismissal or rejection. Upholding a standard of respect and support will allow employees to feel welcomed and psychologically safe at work.
  • Autonomy and Accountability – Within high-trust organizations, we see employees acting with autonomy. Management communicates clear expectations, and employees are given the space to deliver. Autonomy and independence to perform build motivation, confidence, and enthusiasm in employees and shows that management relies on their competence and commitment.
  • Space for Vulnerability and Candor – Whether about work challenges or personal matters that may be affecting the workplace, an open-door policy is best. The brave face method of avoiding sensitive topics may create a divide between employees and management. This can be done in small ways: Management sharing mistakes, failures, and lessons learned can help employees to be vulnerable to challenges.
  • Ethical Leadership – Ensure your managers behave in honest, transparent, and supportive ways to promote feelings of trust. By maintaining respectful and inclusive communication, creating comfort in honesty and vulnerability, and offering opportunities for independence, improved trust can be built.

Building trust and connection is an ongoing but vital process that can create positive outcomes beyond employee satisfaction. Communicate consistently and directly, take tangible actions every time you ask and receive employee feedback, create a culture that supports employees’ well-being, and show appreciation for employees’ work and effort.

Here are resources we found helpful on the topic: