Pathway Design Group's

Campfire Chats

Building Trust in the Workplace

It’s time again to tackle a hot topic in HR and Human Capital Management here on the Pathway Blog! We’re happy to have you here. 

This topic, while currently popular in HR circles, is one that is truly timeless. We want to talk about building trust with your team members in the workplace. 

Building genuine trust with your employees and coworkers can take some time, thoughtfulness, and effort, but comes with a big payoff in the long run. 

Why make an effort to build trust?

Trustworthy leadership can go a long way toward success in many different areas of work life. Especially in today’s hiring climate, employees want to know that they can count on their leaders to act in their best interests, and that they can trust in their intentions. Team members who work for someone they can trust are far more likely to do their best work in their day-to-day lives, and often contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line.

Trust paves the way for open lines of transparent communication between leaders and employees, which is something that can be invaluable when it comes to workplace politics. Rumors and discontent are easier to stop when employees are comfortable sharing their concerns with managers and other figures of authority. Stopping workplace rumors as quickly as possible is one of the most effective ways to maintain positive morale.

How do you build trust with your team?

Learn how to listen.

Whether you’re feeling frustrated, excited, sad, or hopeful, it doesn’t get much better than finding a good listener to talk to. But what, exactly, is a good listener? What if, rather than just saying “good,” we said “active?” 

Learning how to be an active listener is a fantastic way to build trust between you and your team. There are many resources you can access to help you improve your active listening skills, but some of the basics include:

  • Listen with the purpose of understanding, rather than simply waiting for your turn to respond.
  • Pay attention to the conversation. Are you noticing (or sending) any nonverbal cues? Do you truly understand what the other person is saying?
  • Ask questions that invite the other person to speak more. This shows interest and helps you find clarity.
  • Reflect back or paraphrase what the other person said to make sure you fully understand them, and to communicate to them that you care about what they are saying.

Display openness and follow-through.

Employees need to know that their voices and opinions have value in order to truly foster a sense of trust. This fact might feel uncomfortable in certain settings — especially when there is a strict hierarchy in place. As uncomfortable as it might feel, we do think it’s important. 

Making sure there is a forum available for leadership and company feedback benefits both management and team members. Team members will appreciate the ability to give feedback about their work environment, and management will be able to keep their finger on the pulse of company morale, productivity, and engagement. 

The key part of feedback, however, is making sure you follow through on the comments you’ve received. Even if you can’t give your employees exactly what they want, you can still talk to them about the request and to what extent you can address it. This level of effort and thought will show that you care about your team’s well being and morale, and that they can count on you to be consistent and dependable. 

Now is the perfect time to start building trust.

A team that trusts one another is a team that will work hard to support their shared goals, and each other. It’s never too late to start working toward an environment of trust and dependability. 

Have you already started building trust within your workplace? Or is this a surprising concept to you? We’d love to know!