Do you trust your team?

In the ever-evolving landscape of the workplace, the question of trust has become more important than ever. With the rise of remote and hybrid working, performance-linked office attendance policies, and the emergence of AI, trust has emerged as the linchpin holding teams together.

In this blog, we explore why workplace trust has never been more crucial, examine the impacts of a lack of trust among colleagues, review the responsibilities and roles involved in workplace trust, and discuss strategies for fostering trust among your team.

Why is workplace trust important?

Trust in the workplace is more than just a nicety; it’s a commodity for the success and wellbeing of both employees and organisations. With mental health and employee equity being recognised as key contributors to the maintenance of workplace trust, fostering an environment that allows team members to depend on each other and communicate transparently is crucial.

Employees at high-trust companies typically experience less stress, higher productivity, and are more energised at work compared to their counterparts in low-trust companies. In this sense, it plays a big part in driving positive workplace culture, impacting motivation, outputs, and employee retention.

How a lack of trust can impact you at work

With the rise of AI and automation comes an increased risk of mistrust, due to the lack of humanity involved in workplace tasks and interactions. On top of this, employees are increasing siloed due to flexible and remote working arrangements, which has created a void in many workplaces that has the potential to result in a lack of engagement, connection and trust.

The consequences of a lack of trust can be felt across all aspects of the workplace. Remote and hybrid working models can lead to a stagnate or decline in the mental health and presence of employees, stemming from a perceived lack of engagement and trust from management. The absence of informal socialising exacerbates the distance felt, hindering the sense of belonging and collaboration that trust fosters.

Who is responsible to creating (and) maintaining trust?

Cultivating trust within the workplace is not a singular task but a joint effort involving leaders, managers, HR, and employees. Leadership sets the foundation through demonstrating transparent communication and consistent actions. Team collaboration is equally vital, as colleagues must actively engage in open communication and mutual support to establish a culture of trust. Human Resources, through fair policies, and individuals, by upholding them, collectively contribute to the overall trustworthiness of an organisation.

Continuous communication, which meets the changing needs of employees, ensures that everyone remains informed and aligned. Investing in training initiatives such as the Corporate PA Summits and Emerging Leaders Summit enhances interpersonal skills, fostering a culture where trust can thrive.

When all members of an organisation commit to nurturing trust, they create a workplace where trust is not just built but is a living, breathing aspect of their team culture.

How to foster trust among your team

There are many ways for leaders to begin the process of increasing trust within your organisation or team, including:

  • Embracing results-oriented leadership where employees understand what is expected and are supported to reach shared goals.
  • Offering flexible working arrangements and policies that empower employees to manage their time effectively and take responsibility for their work.
  • Organising virtual and in-person team building events and activities that strengthen team bonds, encourage connection and build camaraderie among employees.
  • Demonstrating authenticity and following through on your commitments, so that your team feels confident in your leadership.
  • Recognising the efforts and successes of your people, ensuring they feel they are valued members of the organisation and that their work is not going unnoticed.

For employees, trust can also be earned through:

  • Taking a proactive role in your team through proactive communication, taking part in workplace events and making an effort to develop strong working relationships.
  • Using active listening skills to demonstrate your interest and understanding in workplace matters.
  • Being consistent and transparent in your interactions, so that your team feels confident in relying on you and their expectations are well managed.

Key takeaways

Trust in the workplace is the glue that holds teams together, especially in the face of evolving work patterns and the integration of AI. By understanding the importance of trust, taking steps to reduce the impacts of its absence, and actively fostering trust in a collaborative manner, organisations can create a positive and productive work environment.

Workplace trust is a key theme of ThinkTank Media’s Corporate PA and Emerging Leaders Summits in Australia and New Zealand – take a look at your local event to hear from industry-leading speakers on this topic.

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