Trust is an invisible currency in today’s workplace. Employees that feel safe and trusted are more likely to reciprocate that trust and perform at their best.
In our latest publication, The HR 2023 Outlook, we outlined the shift in expectations and levels of trust in many organizations.
Bonds of trust between organizations and their workforce were always central to employee engagement, and this is more important than ever before.
A culture of trust will anchor companies’ EVP. In today’s war for talents, especially knowledge talents, flexibility around where and when employees work is no longer a differentiator, it’s now table stakes.
Especially for HR and leaders, it's important to have trust not only as a lip-service, but as an inherent mindset across all layers. This is how our co-founder Dorothy Yiu puts it:
“Leaders need to accept the reality that building trust starts with them, and affording employees flexibility, whenever possible, will be key in attracting, retaining and engaging talents. The old-school belief that people will only truly work when they are physically in the office is not only unfounded but breeds a culture of mistrust that will set an organisation back in today’s war for talent and exacerbates turnover rates.”
Cofounder at EngageRocket
Why trust is taking on new meanings and dimensions
While the gap in employer-employee expectation is not a new concept, we have seen this gap widening due to the effects of the pandemic.
Existing relationships become strained due to remote work, with many managers struggling to engage, connect, and motivate their teams.
Meanwhile, employees demand flexibility as part of table stakes, no longer viewing it as a differentiator. Organizations need rethink their policies so as to not challenge already-strained bonds of trust.
Research indicates that this is an issue for a sizable number of companies, which must be addressed in 2023.
PwC’s recent survey shows that while remote/hybrid work seems to have boosted productivity, less than 33% of HR leaders are confident that they are building high levels of trust between employees and the organization.
How organizations can build and nurture a culture of trust
For HR and leaders looking to start taking action on building trust, here are our recommendations:
Understand and build upon the new dimensions of trust
Trust between team members, teams, and organizational units went through a transformative change during the pandemic.
Seek employee input on their unique relationships of trust with others by conducting a feedback collection program such as through employee engagement surveys. Confidentiality is a must so that employees can feel safe in voicing their honest opinions.
“In today’s new world of work, the organizations who are succeeding are those that enable their employees to find meaning and purpose at work.”
Senior Consultant at Mercer
Put trust at the center of the employer value proposition (EVP)
Highlight that the organization has trust in every employee to get their work done without rigid constraints to schedule or location.
Show that employee performance is not appraised by criteria such as number of hours online or how often people go to the physical office.
Place trust front and center of the EVP, publicly communicate your commitment to it, and implement concrete initiatives that increase trust with and between employees.
💡 Read the full highlights or trends and recommendations for the year ahead in the HR 2023 Outlook here.
About the Author
Nauveed Salim is the Regional Director at EngageRocket. He’s an accomplished human resource strategist who has been helping companies of all sizes succeed in their technological transformation and organizational growth.