Trust in the workplace is a key factor when considering the performance of an organisation. As with any relationship, trust builds a solid and strong foundation, which is just as important in professional relationships as it is in personal ones. Trusting your colleagues and peers is linked to improved employee performance, without this, team morale could suffer and employees may feel unable to reach out in times of need.

Recent research by CABA, the wellbeing charity, asked employees who they trusted most in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, co-workers are by far the most trusted, whether they’re on the same level (39%), more junior (11%), or more senior (10%). Managers and office managers fall jointly into fourth place (8%) with HR (5%) being the least trusted. Age was a factor when considering trust in the workplace. It was reported that the younger audience (18-24) was more likely to trust their manager at work (16%) compared to any other age group (average 7% across other age groups).

Practical and Emotional Trust

There are 2 types of trust which should be considered when creating a positive work environment.

  • The first is practical trust based on being dependable and demonstrating you can complete the job efficiently. Being punctual, meeting commitments and being reliable, whilst doing what you say you’ll do are all examples of practical trust.
  • The second is emotional trust. It is this emotional trust which is crucial in strengthening and improving teamwork. Treating others with respect, kindness, and allowing them to not feel judged is paramount. This enables an open environment in which ideas and thoughts can be shared without fear of judgement.

How to build Trust in the Workplace

Establishing an environment of mutual trust where all employees feel comfortable to freely express opinions, thoughts, and ideas without feeling judged or observed will make individuals feel more invested in the business.

As building trust takes time and careful consideration, Kelly Feehan, Service Director at CABA has put together a list of ways you can start encouraging more trust in the workplace.

  • Be honest, open and supportive – Telling the truth can be difficult when it isn’t what people want to hear, but it is vital to communicate the true facts to team members whilst remaining considerate and sensitive to their feelings.
  • Listen – Actively engaging and listening to colleagues, whilst ensuring they have the space to discuss and share their thoughts is essential. Engaging with concerns raised or ideas put forward gives the opportunity for individuals to feel they are valued and heard.
  • Respect – It’s crucial employees feel their time and opinions are respected, even if you disagree with your employee’s opinion, showing respect means honoring their feelings. Building trust will help them feel secure in being able to voice their thoughts without judgement.
  • Reliability – It’s important that if you say you’ll do something that you do it. Following through with commitments at all levels is vital. Turning up to meetings on time and meeting deadlines are just 2 examples. Demonstrating this commitment to your work and employees enables them to trust and rely on you in times of need.
  • Responsibility – Take responsibility for failures as well as successes. This demonstrates integrity and opens the opportunity for you to analyse why something has failed. Creating a chance for an open and honest conversation where you can have an input and produce a collaborative solution means you can make the appropriate changes so that any failures aren’t repeated.

The core of any relationship is trust. Building this trust between co-workers, managers, and juniors will create a thriving workplace culture where employees will feel more relaxed and able to confide their thoughts and feelings in an open, honest environment.

Remember, building trust takes hard work and consistency. It takes time and requires commitment but has the power to transform the workplace into a more productive and efficient environment.