Trust - one of the cornerstones of organisational effectiveness

We are all aware of just how important trust is to working relationships, to foster innovation, build high performing teams and retain talent.

This is particularly important in the current challenging economic climate and in the face of continuing news reports of the breakdown of trust in some sectors.

Earlier this year, CIPD sponsored research into the contribution trust makes to an organisation was published, and the findings are interesting. The research identifies 5 areas in which organisations focus their efforts to build and maintain trust:-

  • Trust in each other – positive and productive relationships with customers, between employees and their line managers and between the organisation and senior managers
  • Trust in leaders – trusting senior managers, focusing on visionary or ‘heroic’ leadership
  • Trust in the organisation – the purpose of the organisation is a key factor for employees, particularly and is seen as more important than individual leaders
  • Trust in external relations – senior managers and to a degree, employees, value trust relationships with key external stakeholders i.e. customers, to a greater degree, than internal relationships
  • Trust in the direct line manager – maintaining trust between employees and their direct line managers.

How do you maintain and build trust to underpin a strong and effective organisation? The research suggests focusing on the following steps:-

  • Create a trust fund – focus on clear communication, and opportunities to actively listen to and support each other – across all relationships
  • Manage with integrity – openness and honesty, linked to full and early consultation when dealing with challenging issues
  • Serve the workforce – leaders demonstrate integrity and commitment to the well being of staff through day to day engagement
  • Kill the spin – give the bad news as well as the good, honestly, and directly from senior managers
  • Re-engage with local line managers – consult line managers, making them aware of the goals of senior managers, creating a line of trust through the organisation
  • Re-position the employment relationship – reinterpret relationships with employees where needed, through dialogue, surveys and open communication to reach more realistic and readily understood working relations.

An interesting challenge indeed!