Build Employee Trust By Starting at the Top

Build Employee Trust By Starting at the Top

Trust builds long-term relationships, and communication builds trust, so says freelance content marketer Olivia Barrow. This same advice also frames the entire discussion around trust between employers and employees.

Open communication is a benefit

More than ever, companies offer employee benefits to attract the best talent possible. “While most companies recognize the need for competitive benefits and perks, many still underestimate the value of good internal communication,” Olivia points out. She’s not talking about mere miscommunications to the team about meeting changes. These missteps in communication don’t usually stall a company.

Olivia argues that, “The type of communication that defines a company is the information that flows from the CEO down to the lowest ranking member of the organization.” Employees often view this type of communication as important as health benefits or stock options. There’s a line between sharing and oversharing, but a heightened level of interchange between management and employees fosters the type of trust that directly improves a company’s bottom line.

Trust flows both ways

Open communication like this encourages employees. CEOs and managers don’t need to tack “We trust our employees!” to their job listings, they convey it better through their actions. Olivia questioned her friend Jim Danis, owner of a prefabrication company, about his communication practices. Jim chooses to be fully transparent whenever possible, and when it comes to trust?

Absolutely I trust my employees, and I try to lead from a position of service leadership, so I hope they trust me. I think in today’s digital world there is very little confidential information that a 12-year-old Norwegian kid cannot hack into. I constantly say that I hire adults and will treat them as such, so I share sales numbers, profitability, etc., with my employees.

Opting for less communication leaves room for doubts, questions, and other things that don’t contribute to good working environments. Here at Lessonly, we have weekly all-team meetings on Mondays that includes updates from every department and an overall company forecast. It really helps to keep our entire team focused on our company’s goals, while laying out how we can all work to accomplish it. It only takes an hour out of our week, but the meeting brings countless hours of focused work back in return.

Communication can start anytime

Like almost anything in this world, managers need discretion of what to share at times. They might see ongoing negotiations and potential new business as topics not fit for sharing, but leaders need to decide that. In the end, this level of communication involves more than just trusting employees, it’s a choice by leaders “to be vulnerable in building relationships built on mutual trust with their employees.” It’s not an easy thing to do, but we agree with Olivia that it can greatly improve the productivity of a team and the attractiveness of a company to prospective employees and clients.

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