Trust. It’s important, for customer and employee alike. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that only 37% of those who responded felt that the CEO was credible and only 48% thought employees were trustworthy. Not only did both percentages dip significantly compared with 2016, but it was the first time that the majority of global respondents said they didn’t trust the system either. That includes businesses.
Why should the entrepreneur care if they are trusted or if respondents in a global survey are growing increasingly suspicious? Well here are seven very, very good points around why trust is important, how to create it, and how to maintain it…
1. A happy medium
Well, trust is essential to building a vital and engaging company culture and this type of culture is the one that comes up with the exciting ideas, has passionate people, low employee turnover rates, and attracts the best talent. And that is only the tip of the trust iceberg. Research has also shown that trust inspires a happy workplace and happy people are instantly more productive and effective. Happy employees usually mean happy customers too.
2. A genuine interest
To build this culture and imbue a sense of trust you need to be genuine. You need to show that you really do care about your people, that you have a plan for the business and their future, and that you show the same levels of care for your customers. Businesses that are built with trust and commitment are those that keep their clients and grow stable foundations.
3. A critical metric
Staff trust is critical. You need to work together to achieve your objectives so if you are not seen as credible then work won’t be collaborative. This lack of trust is also one of the biggest causes of toxic work environments that destroy businesses from within. If your internal trust levels are low, you need to find out why and start a process of change as soon as possible.
4. Commitment to values
Showcase your business values. Don’t be afraid to put your business values on display by making them visible to others. If you do so, you then ensure that people both within and without your business can see the values that you aspire to and that you uphold. Not only does this engender a sense of trust in the commitment to these values but reminds everyone of the values that drive their behaviours in the business environment.
The same applies when clients visit – they are not only reassured of the qualities that embody the company they plan to spend their money and time with, they are also assured of personal interactions that uphold them.
5. Expanding beyond the core
When you first launch your company, you will be teaching your values to a small core group of employees. However, as the months and years go by, your business will expand and the core group will grow, leave and change. You need to use the ideas outlined in point 04 above to continue the process of education and to build a culture of trust with new employees continuously. Use internal communications, signage and regular employee sessions to expand these beliefs and embed trust consistently across the company.
6. It’s about to get messy
What happens when you break the trust your employees and clients have in you? Is it the end? Yes, it can be. Mistakes almost always come back to haunt you. To rebuild trust, you need to stay true to your commitments and values, own your mistakes and move on. Be accountable. This is probably the singularly most important thing you can do – by being accountable you show that you understand what you did wrong and why it is important to fix it.
7. Date your company
You need to approach your working relationships the same way you do a long term relationship, with respect, care and commitment. You need to show commitment and that you’re not just going to swing in and out of the business and the values it carries as and when it suits you. Treat your company and your people like a long-term commitment that deserves your respect and you’ll be 90% of the way towards building a powerful foundation and culture of trust.