How High Trust In Organizations Leads To Improved Performance
Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD.
May 3, 2014
The author and leadership expert Warren Bennis has said, “Trust is essential to all organizations.” Yes, organizations that operate in an environment of high trust eliminate barriers to performance and stimulate employees to hone their skills and step up their game.
You won’t be surprised to know that when your employees trust and have open communications with their managers and coworkers, they are far more satisfied and engaged, and less likely to leave. In short, high trust companies have:
- More strategic alliances
- More responsive virtual teams
- More effective crisis management
- Lower litigation costs
- Lower transaction costs
We studied 7,000 workplace issues and found that trust is the key to effective relationships. Your employees want to feel that your organization believes in them and trusts them to follow through, act fairly and contribute to its success. Your actions, and the actions of your team members, dramatically impact the quality of your employees’ work experience.
THE PATH TO A TRUSTED ORGANIZATION
The impact leaders have on your culture—and how a healthy, purposeful culture drives strategy and performance—are the differentiating factors we enjoy most when working with you at Work Effects. That’s one of the many reasons I joined the firm.
We like hanging out at the intersection of leadership, culture and performance. When working with leaders like you from companies of all sizes, I consistently hear about two factors that are critical to your day-to-day operations: alignment and trust.
Alignment is important because we know that most everything is somehow connected, but that doesn’t mean everything is aligned and moving towards a common goal. That’s why many people I talk with see alignment as the driving force for change within their organizations. Leaders want to ensure that their resources, efforts and energies are aligned to a common vision.
The other critical factor is trust. Do you trust your organization to fulfill its stated mission and vision? Do your leaders and employees reflect the company’s values? Does your organization deliver on what it says it will deliver?
We think that trust is the belief that if you relinquish control to others it won’t lead to personal loss or harm. Trust can also be defined as your willingness to place your own resources at others’ disposal.
We also know that when a person trusts another entity—whether it’s a family member, friend, manager or organization—that individual will openly engage in the relationship and contribute more to its success. In turn, your organization must cultivate employee trust and gain support for your vision and future direction if you expect your employees to be completely “in.”
Moreover, if your employees go to work each day and actively commit to their jobs, they need to believe in your organization. In other words, your employees must trust that your organization is headed in the right direction and working toward virtuous goals.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER YOU HAVE A TRUSTED ORGANIZATION?
After the work’s been done, if you can confidently ask these questions of your employees and receive honest and positive feedback, then you’re on your way to building a culture of trust:
1) I have the freedom I need to decide how to do my work
2) Overall, I feel trusted by the people I work with
3) I am consistently treated with respect
4) My manager regularly asks for my input on important decisions
5) Speaking openly and honestly is always encouraged in this organization
With a dedicated workforce performing at full capacity, your organization can exceed expectations and bring unparalleled value to your stakeholders. A high trust organization usually leads to a high performance organization.