We’ve talked much about how important team building is, but today we’re going to take it a step further and explore how essential it is to have trust within a company.

During the pandemic, most work environments changed rapidly and dramatically. There was a massive impact on employees, who were forced to adapt and adjust immediately to continue working. Still, the most dramatic shift was how managers went about their jobs.

Initially, there was concern that without direct oversight, productivity would suffer. We’ve learned that this is not the case, but the adjustment was challenging for some. Trust in the workplace is critical. It’s the foundation that underscores our entire lives, in and out of the office.

As humans, we want to trust and be trusted. Distrust takes up an inordinate amount of time and energy, and let’s face it—we’ve got better things to fill up our day.

Why Trust in the Workplace is Important

It’s a known fact: engaged employees perform better. Highly engaged teams are more productive, happier, and produce higher customer satisfaction metrics. According to a recent Gallup poll, highly engaged workplaces increase company profits by 21%, and that’s something you can actually take to the bank.

Fortunately, recent studies show that workplace trust has increased since 2020. We’ve learned to adapt (“pivot,” after all, was the trending word of the year in 2020), and even the most stalwart managers have seen the light. It’s much more than just a trend, however, as the skills gained during the transition will continue to serve us well regardless of how the workplace changes in the future.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Clear, transparent communication is vital. Keeping employees in the loop, checking in, and doing whatever it takes to stay connected lowers employee anxiety and ensures managers are on top of productivity. In the absence of communication, trust erodes on all sides—managers don’t know what the employee is doing, and team members are frustrated because they aren’t sure they are on track to completing their goals. Employees become disconnected, which often leads to attrition.
  • Empathy is a critical soft skill. Every remote employee (and even those still working in the office) experiences stress on some level. Whether dealing with family and home issues while working or managing the isolation of remote work, we learned how important it is to be sensitive to others. Lack of empathy for others, whether a coworker or manager, leads to resentment, disconnection, and reduced engagement and productivity.

Trust Works Both Ways: How to Build Trust in the Workplace

Teams can simply not reach the highest levels of productivity and effectiveness without having a tremendous amount of trust in one another. Here are a few strategies to help you achieve this:

  • Provide simple connective technology that works for everyone
  • Foster teamwork by offering hybrid work options
  • Treat your coworkers with respect
  • Encourage your teams to share ideas
  • Don’t micromanage, but provide support and guidance when needed
  • Play to people’s strengths and accept their weaknesses
  • Maintain accountability
  • Ensure everyone understands priorities

Workspace Strategies helps you focus on what works, providing solutions that help you build workplace trust and resilience that resonates throughout the organization.