How do you build trust with your employees?
This week, guest writer Sonya Law walks us through the critical importance of the employee performance review in part two of her series. In “How do you build trust with your employees,” Sonya shares the methods of trust building we can all use in our businesses.
The irregularity of the sometimes twice a year Performance Review at mid-year and End of Year (EOY) does not lend itself to building trusted relationships.
What is going to build trust is:
- Approachability – for some this is an open-door policy that physical signal that they are open for business. Others they like to walk the floor and talk with people and be seen. Either way both methods work and encourage people, employees to come and talk with you.
- Congruency – for some managers they may have an open-door policy and walk the floor but may give off a signal that they are not approachable. This is where emotional intelligence is important in leaders to have a self-awareness of their body language and tone when talking with employees to ensure that they are also presenting themselves as open and approachable.
- Regularity – the consistency and regularity of these exchanges with employees encourages people to open up and builds trust.
As human beings we are wired to detect if people or situations are threatening and are constantly picking up on cues in our environment and behaviors of others. To assess whether a person or situation is psychologically safe, the workplace is no different. When we build an organisation that is built on trust and it’s not just a token value but a lived experience, we experience greater levels of:
- Innovation – feeling safe to share ideas without them getting shut down without a fear of making mistakes, which enables learning.
- Collaboration – when ideas flow freely amongst the team, in a collegiate way this balance of power ensures that everyone is heard and the focus is on a better solution.
- Problem Solving – this collegiate environment encourages the team to solve problems together rather than a focus on individuals.
Some organisations value technical skills the hard skills; over leaders who are more approachable and collaborative as these are seen as soft skills.
48% of employees in workforce in USA are looking to change jobs, for more flexibility, to align with cultures and leaders who display these soft skills and clarity of purpose. Cultures who truly engage with their people in an authentic way. Leaders who are self-aware, open, transparent in their communication and vulnerable, win the hearts and minds of employees and extract the discretionary effort that hits the bottom-line time and time again.
Most organisations know what they do, how they do it but not why, these workplaces are stuck in fire fighter mode, directionless and leaking talent, innovation and in most cases money.
So where do we go from here?
Make feedback and performance reviews a habit, stack it with best practice:
- People being aligned with the STRATEGY
- Remind employees of your WHY
- Connect people with your PURPOSE
The business landscape is rapidly changing and the nature of work and skills required are different.
Businesses need to reflect back to inform their strategy of what is needed to achieve business growth in the following areas:
- Continuous improvement
- Remove road blocks
- Market intelligence – competitor activity
- Customer intelligence – customer buying behavior
- Pandemic fatigue – shift towards holistic view of employee wellbeing
- AGILE – how can we become more agile
- Scalable Technology – how are we using technology to solve societies problem of social connectedness and remote work.
In effect how are we building a culture of feedback, performance and innovation, that is engaged and with a common purpose and a spirit of connection, belonging and community.
Humans are the greatest adapters:
In an article titled, Humans May Be the Most Adaptive Species, Scientific American:
“Constant climate change may have given Homo sapiens their flexibility. Man had two key advantages: our brains and our capacity for culture. Our brains are essentially social brains. We share information, we create and pass on knowledge. That’s the means by which humans are able to adjust to new situations, and it’s what differentiates humans from our earlier ancestors, and our earlier ancestors from primates”.
If we take care of the people we work with they will share knowledge, pass down knowledge and innovate and be agile, our role as leaders is to provide an environment that fosters trust for them to thrive.