By Barb Ward

According to a study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout than people at low-trust companies.

A March 2021 Gallup Panel survey found that only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization.

In the past few years everything has changed. The way we live, the way we shop, the things we value, the way we work, and the type of work we are willing to do. This has left organizations scrambling to determine how they can continue to attract and retain high performing talent. And, while other factors also play a role, it often comes down to trust.

It’s long been known, and research supports, that people do not leave organizations—they leave leaders. And often this is a direct result of a lack of trust and a feeling they are not respected. This, in turn, leads to decreased employee engagement and increased turnover. 

According to a Gallup survey, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability. If you convert these percentages to dollars, you can estimate a loss of 34% of that employee’s salary. That’s a whopping $3,400 for every $10,000 they make. And that is only one member of your staff. Now, imagine if this one disengaged employee is negatively impacting those around him/her: you could potentially end up with a team of non-engaged employees, costing your organization in both productivity and profitability.

Another Gallup 2021 survey, reports: 

  • Only 36% of American workers are engaged at work (they love their jobs and try to make their company better every day).
  • At the other end, 15% of employees are actively disengaged (they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build).
  • And further, one can conclude that the remaining 49% of employees are not engaged or disengaged (they’re just there for the paycheck).

These figures illustrate that a shift in leadership is necessary. As The Great Resignation continues, employers are clamoring to recruit and retain qualified candidates. Building trust with your teams is a good place to start.

Trust is the measure of the quality of relationships developed between individuals, groups of people, teams, and organizations. As an individual, and as a leader, many of the issues you face and the successes you experience reflect the level of trust you have established and maintained. Leaders who encourage their teams to take smart risks, make mistakes, be candid with one another, and align with a shared purpose, benefit from a highly developed team that trusts them and one another, and feels safe in assessing many different perspectives that often result in more productive and creative innovations.

Here are 5 tips for building trust:

Focus on your everyday behaviors and actions. You’ve heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Pay heed to this as you work to develop trust. People may hear what you say, but they will remember what you do.

Foster a culture of support. Create a clear structure and then allow others the autonomy to work how they work best. Encourage others to openly voice their concerns, while showing support and guiding them toward their own solutions.

Keep promises. If you say it, do it. Nothing erodes trust more quickly than broken promises.

Show genuine concern for others. When you ask questions and care about others, they respond in-kind. When you show that you value them as a person and they can feel your sincerity, your relationship grows.

Respect different perspectives. Your ability to look beyond how you feel and consider others’ points of view and feelings opens a path for understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.

Extend trust. Showing vulnerability and extending trust to others is important, people feel trust when they know they can rely on and be vulnerable with you. But it is equally important to extend trust wisely. First, assess the situation, the risk, and the character of the person to determine if the risk is worth the investment. If the risk is high, you may need to continue building the relationship first.

Consistently demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity. Never distort the truth or cover facts to make things easier on yourself. Who you are when you think no one is looking is every bit as important as who you are in the spotlight.

Download our Trust Conversations guide for a free trust assessment. Then, if you’d like additional help building trust with your teams, call us. We’d love to help you get moving in the right direction. 

More resources:

Impact Newsletter – November 2022

8 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know in 2022

Why Trust Matters at Work

New Study Shows A Lack Of Trust Between Employees And Employers