Trust is a key element of a company’s culture. This is directly linked to the sustained success of an organisation and the wellbeing and attitudes of its employees. And workplace culture has rarely been out of the headlines recently. The current Facebook crisis, the scandals at Uber, the long-running issues with Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein company, have all shown what can happen when you get it wrong. Yet it is hard to believe that any of these events could have taken place in the context of a positive, inclusive, and trusting workplace culture.

Unsurprisingly, those high-profile scandals feed into the increasing sense of distrust and alienation towards big businesses. This has resulted in people looking for something different from their workplace, something that speaks to and for them. This is where SMEs have a chance to change the game by aligning their business goals with a workplace culture that inspires trust. But how do you do it?

Today, respect, trust and authority must be earned by actions and attitudes. It is not freely given according to status or hierarchy. In fact our Culture Economy report found that one fifth (20%) of workers don't trust their senior management. So what can you do to earn the trust of your employees? Here are my thoughts on what you can do to gain your employees’ trust.

Tips for gaining your employee’s trust

Start the conversation

Starting the conversation with employees is probably the easiest way to begin to gain their trust, but it so often doesn’t happen. Communication is . I’m a great believer in the one-to-one. And that’s not an inauthentic meeting that should happen to comply with a process, its sitting down with your employees on a regular basis. For me, it’s the most important time that I spend with them. In doing this, you provide them with a platform for conversation and can start to build a relationship with them.

Commit to your values

Building up a commitment around values, ethics, recognition, and empowerment will allow you to start demonstrating a basis for the conversation. It’s a way for you to show your employees that you are there, wanting to earn their trust, and its not something that you take for granted.

Demonstrate your values

You also need to be seen to be visibly leading and demonstrating the values that you’ve talked about and form your conversations. Take your time to engage with your employees about those values so that they can full understand them. For example, at breathe we hold annual and biannual company off-sites during which the senior team share the business plans and progress. Once you’ve put it into practice its important to continue to review things and keep discussions going.

It is important to remember that establishing trust with anyone can take time. Once you’ve started that process, continue to re-establish it. Keep moving over the same ground and remember that each employee needs to see and hear things in different ways. You can listen to more of what I think about how you can gain employee's trust in the podcast below from the Training Journal.

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