When It Comes to Culture, Trust Is Key
– Jon O’Malley, Pinnacle Business Guides
Trust is the foundation of every company culture. Where trust is lacking or weak, the foundation will be weak and the culture will be challenged. Where trust is strong, the culture will likely be strong. Building trust, however, takes ongoing deliberate effort, especially as many companies have shifted to remote or hybrid settings over the past several months. Forming that bond with and among employees doesn’t have to be daunting — business leaders just need to know where to start.
The biggest factor in building trust comes from feeling connected. When people don’t feel connected, trust diminishes and often leads to burnout, which is at an all-time high these days. According to a recent survey, 89% of professionals say they’re feeling more burned out at work now than they were before the pandemic. Unfortunately, however, another survey finds only one in 10 managers is concerned about the problem. Whether a company is fully in-person, fully remote or operating with a mixture of both, it’s important for managers and leaders to recognize this looming crisis in their organization or take steps to mitigate it. One way they can do so and begin to build or rebuild trust is to help employees to get to know each other beyond the surface level.
At Pinnacle Business Guides, we encourage our clients to set up regular meetings and quarterly conversations with their employees to help maintain or reestablish connections with their staff. These tools allow managers to touch base with their employees regularly so they can strengthen their relationships and form a culture of trust. They provide opportunities for leaders and employees to be vulnerable with one another and to build confidence in each other’s knowledge, skills and communication styles. It’s also critical for employees to get to know each other one-on-one, so when they work together on projects, that trust is already established. Even 10 to 20 minutes of connection time between employees weekly can make a big difference in developing stronger relationships and a healthy culture.
Building trust takes intentionality. Too often, companies take action once problems have already manifested. In order to successfully create and maintain positive company culture, leadership teams have to be proactive — they have to be intentional about finding thoughtful ways to stay connected with their employees so trust can continue to grow over time.
Managers and leadership teams should find ways to show colleagues they’re interested in their professional and personal lives. They should take time to learn about their team members’ goals and aspirations in and outside of work. Even simply asking how a fellow colleague is feeling can help that person feel seen, heard and supported. By intentionally checking in, the bond between managers and employees will become even more solidified.
Give Recognition Often
Leaders should also be deliberate about recognizing the great work their employees are doing, whether it’s acknowledging their positive behavior, the amazing results they’re achieving or how they’re moving the company’s mission and values forward. Still, in order to build trust and create a healthy culture, leaders have to go beyond simple “thank you” emails or a pat on the back that’s done one-on-one. In fact, researchers say outdated methods like these have led to a 37% decrease in workers feeling appreciated.
By acknowledging their employees’ hard work in front of their peers — either through consistent shout-outs at weekly meetings or spontaneous rewards — business leaders are making their colleagues feel valued, while also encouraging ongoing productivity. They’re showing that they’re dialed in on everyone’s efforts, which strengthens employees’ connection to the company, their work, and their coworkers. Ultimately, to have a trusting and healthy culture, the entire team needs to be on board and give it their all. They have to take ownership of their work and their role in the overall success of the business, and intentional and consistent recognition can go a long way toward motivating and training employees and creating a happier and healthier work environment.
Building trust doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does have to be done. By being thoughtful and deliberate about nurturing trust, businesses create a culture that people want to stay in and be a part of. In the end, it’s a win-win for the company, the leaders and the employees.
– Jon O’Malley, Pinnacle Business Guides