Six reasons it pays to trust your employees



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4 mins

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Trusting your employees can bring big benefits for your organisation and for your workers. Here are six reasons why putting trust in your people truly pays off

Some say that trust is the glue that holds society together, and nowhere is this more so than in the workplace. Although trusting others is not always easy, through fear of being let down, trusting your employees has been found to be a shrewd strategy to cement your success. Here are some good reasons why this really works for all concerned. 

1. Enhanced employee engagement

Trusted employees feel more valued, which will help to make them feel more engaged in their work, and every business needs an engaged workforce to be successful. This will also promote a greater sense of job satisfaction for workers and lower staff turnover rates. In fact, one survey by PwC found that employees in a trusting environment felt 76% more engaged than those in “low-trust workplaces”. What this boils down to is that trusted employees generally feel happier, and happy people are more likely to go the extra mile for their employers. 

2. Increased productivity

Trust is seen as an essential ingredient for building productivity in the workplace. Trusting your employees will mean that you allow them to get on with their work and do what they do best, instead of requiring them to frequently check back with you. If you have an effective HR recruitment software in place, you can be confident that you have hired the right person for the job and trust them to do it well. This will free you up to carry out more proactive activities, instead of wasting time micromanaging people. In fact, research by Great Place to Work found that organisations with a high-trust culture had stock market returns two to three times greater than the market average. 

3. It enables flexible working

For flexible or remote working to flourish, employers need to trust their staff to work unsupervised, wherever they are. Flexible working – which might include part-time hours, earlier or later start times, or working from home – can improve employee satisfaction, allowing them to achieve a better work–life balance, as well as increase your organisation’s productivity. It has even been found to increase employee retention and help combat workplace burnout. However, without trust from employers, this type of working cannot be successful.

 4. Improved communication

Putting trust in your employees can really open the channels of communication. Trust is a two-way street, and if you trust your employees, this will lead to them trusting you, which in turn will enable a flow of honest communication between both parties. This can only be achieved if employees feel secure and valued enough to voice their genuine opinions. Such communication is vital if you want to get a realistic view of how your organisation is really performing, and to address any issues before they become problems. Trusting and empowering your employees to give honest feedback can also be a great way to increase employee engagement, provided you seriously consider and implement their suggestions. 

5. It helps to build team spirit

Organisations that give their employees the space to work independently will create a healthier atmosphere and more productive team. Trusting your people to work autonomously creates a greater sense of community and helps to builds a healthy team spirit that is an important prerequisite for success. Research suggests that, in high-trust environments, employees feel more confident in themselves and each other, so are more open to working with others to innovate and take prudent risks. Because they know that they don’t need to look nervously over their shoulder, individuals can instead look to each other and, if they make a mistake, know that their team members will be supportive, and that errors are an opportunity to learn and grow. 

6. It encourages employee advocacy

Employees repay your trust in them by becoming your most enthusiastic advocates. In this day and age of Glassdoor reviews and social media, don’t underestimate the benefits of online ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations. Recruiting top talent is harder if there is no trust in the workplace, because frustrated employees may well post poor reviews which will dissuade others from applying for vacancies. Similarly, a single positive comment from employees can help your organisation to stand out from the crowd.

This article was first published in June 2015. It was updated in July 2019 for freshness, clarity and accuracy.