A twin track of reducing length of employment tenure combined with a wider crisis of confidence in the capitalist economic model is causing a significant worsening of loyalty and trust between workers and their employers.
Brands that lose the trust of their customers can face catastrophic consequences and few seem able to shrug off significant ethical setbacks in the way that Facebook seems to have been able to in recent weeks.
The same megatrend underpins the employment relationship. Organisations that foster a relationship based upon trust and integrity able to outperform those where there’s a real or perceived need for employees to cover their backs before making decisions.
It is leadership, culture and behaviour that make a big difference to trust. Treating people fairly, living corporate values and placing trust in employees are the key factors in play. This approach reflects strongly in customer situations where employees’ viewpoints are often perceived to have greater credibility and integrity that corporate slogans or commitments made by remote senior management.
Conversely employees in low trust workplaces are less likely to share knowledge, take risks and challenge negative behaviours in others. This creates performance and reputational disadvantage for the organisations concerned.
So how should business leaders seek to monitor and measure how well their organisation is performing?
Employee perception surveys, constant communication, performance reviews and exit interviews provide organisations with the tools to manage employee engagement.
Organisations that provide employees with clear purpose and a socially responsible approach to doing business perform more strongly than those that don’t. After all, who wants to be socially useless.
Building trust is a complex process, the following nine components are proven to have a beneficial impact:
1. Working to benefit society in everyday business activities
2. Frequent and honest communication across the organisation
3. Ethical business practices
4. Open and transparent business practices
5. Widely admired business leaders that role model corporate culture
6. Listens to customer needs and feedback, and places their needs ahead of profits
7. Takes responsibility for resolving issues or crises that do arise
8. Treats employees well
9. Works to protect and improve the environment