Trust in the workplace is SUPER important. David Grossman, founder and CEO of the Grossman Group, says:
“Working with leaders and teams at many different organizations across industries over the last 20+ years, I’ve seen how trust opens doors to opportunities and can help people and companies grow beyond their wildest expectations. I’ve seen leaders and teams work through trust issues and get to the other side stronger and better. I’ve also seen how business can slow or stop without trust.”
But what does trust look like? What is the way to build trust? I’m going to answer these questions by giving you 20 examples of trust in the workplace. But first…
Why Is Trust Important in the Workplace?
Here are just a few of the reasons why employers and employees should build trust at work:
- Better teamwork and collaboration. When there is trust, team members provide their very best. For example, no one will worry about sharing their knowledge, fearing that they won’t receive the credit they deserve.
- Increases productivity. If there are high levels of trust, people work better together. And when they do, every day will see a productive workplace.
- Improves employee performance. If your employees trust you as their superior, they are more likely to receive feedback and work to improve their performances. They will see it as coaching and not criticism.
- High morale, less stress. Since people who feel trust don’t always have to “watch their back”, they will feel safe. In turn, they won’t feel any stress while at work. Because of that, they’ll have a higher morale.
- Keep employees. 46% of employees who trust their employers see themselves working in the same company for 5+ years. So if you don’t want to keep looking for new employees, you must build trust.
- Effective conflict resolution. In a trusting workplace, individuals are more inclined to address conflicts openly and honestly, seeking solutions rather than avoiding or escalating issues.
- More innovation and risk-taking. A culture of trust encourages innovation and risk-taking. When employees trust that their ideas will be valued and that taking calculated risks is supported rather than punished, they are more likely to contribute innovative solutions.
20 Examples of Trust in the Workplace
If you want a positive work environment, here are some examples and tips for building trust:
- Listen more than you speak
- Solicit and act on feedback
- Show appreciation every day
- Model the behavior you seek
- Encourage coaching
- Practice consistency
- Focus on nonverbal communication and soft skills
- Create an inclusive culture
- Be honest
- Match actions to words
- Open communication
- Acknowledge emotions
- Inclusive team-building
- Respectful rules and policies
- Fairness and equal opportunity
- Be supportive
- Be transparent
- Correct mistakes
1. Listen more than you speak
Whether you’re an employer or employee, one of the best examples of trust is if you listen. Listening means that what the person has to say is important. If you always open your mouth whenever someone says something, that person will feel like you don’t trust them – or that their opinion doesn’t matter to you. So if you want to learn how to build trust, make sure to always listen to what people have to say.
Read More: How To Build Rapport With Team Members.
2. Solicit and act on feedback
Another way to establish trust in the workplace is to give employees a voice. This is why one of the examples of trust in the workplace is to give employees the opportunity to solicit input. In a report by Achievers, 10% of employees are OK with yearly solicitation, while 64% of employees prefer to provide feedback anytime.
But it’s not just that. Employers must also act on their feedback from employees. This way, employees will know that employers are working to improve, too.
3. Show appreciation every day
To foster trust, it’s a good idea to show appreciation. As an employee, you can show appreciation to your employer by thanking them, respecting their time, asking them for advice, being friendly, and giving a gift, to name a few.
As an employer, you can show appreciation to your employees by acknowledging when they do good, thanking them privately and publicly, ignoring small mistakes, creating a reward system, and (if they do really well) offering bonuses and promotions.
4. Model the behavior you seek
If you want trust in your workplace, you need to be a role model. That means that you need to behave in a trustworthy manner. Follow your company’s values and missions, trust your employees and partners, and always look for ways to improve. When people see this, it will be a snowball effect, and that will strengthen trust.
Here’s one example of modeling the behavior you seek. Let’s say that you want all your employees to arrive at work on time. To help these people trust your word, you must also always arrive on time.
5. Encourage coaching
Achievers, an employee engagement software, puts it this way, “Authentic leadership can cultivate trust and improve employee engagement and performance.” Now, one way to be an authentic leader is to coach your employees. You don’t want to be the one just bossing them around.
No, you want them to be the best version of themselves. You want to provide training, support, and encouragement. You want to be their cheerleader when they succeed and their guide when they’re struggling. This is the foundation of trust.
6. Practice consistency
If you’re consistent, it will be much easier to build trust in the workplace. Practice consistency in both your own performance and your moods.
Show your employees that you always work hard. Show them that you’re always looking for ways to improve. Show them that you practice what you preach. If you’re always inconsistent in your performance, your employees will feel that it’s OK to do the same.
On the other hand, you need to make sure that your mood is consistently cool, collected, and calm. Yes, even in not-so-pleasant moments. If you’re prone to bursts of anger, employees will naturally feel nervous and uncomfortable around you, especially when there is a problem.
7. Focus on nonverbal communication and soft skills
Positive workplace relationships grow stronger with nonverbal communication and soft skills. This means that both employers and employees need to have the right attitudes, behaviors, and personality traits.
When someone talks to you, look them in the eye instead of continuing your work. When someone comes to you with a problem, be patient with them and help them solve it. When you do communicate, always speak from the heart. Being genuine and authentic is what trust requires.
8. Create an inclusive culture
To help build trust, you need to make everyone feel included. That means that you should trust, accept, and value every single person in the workplace, no matter the gender, age, ethnicity, cultural background, etc.
Make it a workplace where people feel safe no matter who they are. Always give fair pay and benefits, education and training, and workplace accessibility to everyone. This will make employees feel included, and that can build strong trust in your organization.
Also, with an inclusive culture, the work relationships between coworkers will improve. They will trust you and each other.
9. Be honest
Lying is the number one way to destroy trust. Remember that “trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” So if you want a trusting workplace, you should ALWAYS be honest. Lying will get you nowhere.
10. Match actions to words
If you want to build trust in the workplace, you need to follow your word. If you say that you trust someone but then act in ways that show your lack of trust, that will ruin the positive workplace relationships. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
If you tell your team that they need to work extra hard on an important project, you must also work hard on the said project. As the employer, you’re there to lead with sample, not with force.
11. Open communication
Another step to building trust is to openly communicate. This can build trust with employees as it shows transparency, accountability, understanding, problem-solving, and encouraging feedback. The more you communicate, the more there will be mutual respect and mutual trust.
12. Acknowledge emotions
There’s no denying it. There are going to be lots of emotions involved when it comes to the day-in and day-out experience in the workplace. But instead of suppressing people’s emotions, it’s better to acknowledge it.
The reason why this builds trust is because it means you validate feelings, you have empathy, you’re understanding, etc. It can also resolve conflicts and enhance communication.
13. Inclusive team-building
The culture of trust should extend outside of work. This is why inclusive team-building activities are a good way to build relationships. For this, you can organize a team outing, include fun, shared experiences for everyone at the workplace, do team-building exercises, and much more.
When employees feel like they belong, they will more likely trust their colleagues and superiors. Not just that, inclusive team-building activities can break down barriers, improve communication, and build stronger relationships.
14. Respect rules and policies
This is a small actionable way to build trust among employers and employees. When the superiors do their best to respect rules and policies, the employees will know that they are genuine. And when someone sees you as genuine, they will naturally trust you more.
15. Fairness and equal opportunity
If you favor one person over the other, then there’s going to be little trust in the workplace. The other employees will feel not valued, and will not have any reason to trust you. Even the person that you favor might not fully trust you if you’re inconsistent with your fairness. Who knows, you can easily turn on them whenever.
But if you’re an employer that always promotes fairness and equal opportunity to all, the employee experience will be much better. In turn, everyone will be able to trust you since you’re fair.
Building and maintaining trust requires credibility. This means that you are consistent in your actions, you showcase expertise, you embrace honesty and transparency, you adhere to ethical standards, and you establish a track record of success, to name a few. Respect and trust come naturally when someone has the credibility to earn it.
Read what Julia Felton, founder of Business HorsePower, had to say about respect and trust:
“Can you trust someone you don’t respect? Can you respect without trust? In all my years of being in business, I can’t recall anyone that I really respected and who I didn’t trust. Although recently I did come across a stallion horse that I certainly respected for his power and presence, but to be honest I didn’t really trust him. In fact, he intimidated me, and I was a little afraid, however, I did trust myself that I knew enough to keep me safe by keeping him out of my personal space. So whilst trust and respect can exist independently, it’s when they co-exist together that something magical happens. It is definitely a case of 1+1=3.”
From this, you can see the importance of trust and respect in the workplace. If you want a trusting work environment, both employers and employees need to respect each other. To gain that respect, you should follow the examples of trust in the workplace that are listed here.
Read More: Why Is Respect Important In Leadership?
18. Be supportive
As the leader, you’re there to help employees as much as possible. You need to be supportive of their work, their struggles, and their willingness to learn. This will not only gain workplace trust but also emotional trust. Be a supporter, not a critic.
19. Be transparent
If employers are always so secretive, then trust is lost. If you want to work in a high-trust environment, then be transparent with your employees. Openly share information, decisions, and processes. Don’t hide anything from them.
20. Correct mistakes
When you trust someone, you’re also trusting them to point out mistakes and errors. You don’t want someone that just accepts everything you do. This either means they don’t care at all, or they’re trying to avoid you as much as possible.
But if you take the time to point out mistakes and give constructive feedback, employees will see that you’re trying your best to help them improve. And when they see that, the work culture will be very positive and they will trust you more.
Building Trust Takes Hard Work
It takes at least 7 months to build trust with people. You may still have a long way in building trust with others. Once you recognize this, you’ll know that to create trust, you need to work on the examples and tips that I share here every single day. The more you follow the 20 examples of trust, the sooner you’ll gain trust in the organization.
If you’re an employer, make sure to work on the 20 examples I gave you. If you’re an employee that’s wondering what trust in the workplace looks like, make sure that you have an employer that works on the examples given here.
Read More: Signs You Are Not Valued at Work.
Now that you know the 20 examples of trust in the workplace, it’s time to start implementing these key factors. Remember that trust at work is critical for better teamwork, more productivity, and a positive environment.
If you’re an employee, you can work on these examples to build trust with your employer, team leaders, and coworkers. Also, you should look for these examples in your leaders if you want a productive workplace where people feel safe, respected, and trusted.