Five Tips for Building Trust with Employees

By Bizclik Editor

Written by Bruce Anderson, Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison

Be sure to check out next month's issue of Business Review Australia magazine for Mr Anderson's cover story about innovation in the workplace.

Trust is key to building relationships with staff. Without trustful relationships you will face negative staff productivity and retention issues. But if you have a workplace culture built on trust then you will have a highly effective, productive and harmonious workplace.

The way to build trust with staff is through engagement. First of all, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if you are helping to create an environment where co-workers forge bonds and build trusting relationships. Is the workplace the kind of environment that fosters cooperation and collaboration?

If you need to build trust with your staff here are five tips to ensure you can build those critical relationships:

1.       Meet your commitments.

Broken promises and missed deadlines will have a negative impact on the team as a whole. If circumstances change to the point where expectations must be realigned, advise those relying on you of any changes well in advance of the due date.

It is critical you advise your team early on if you cannot meet your commitments rather than notifying them that it will be late on the date it is due. Your team need to be able to trust that you will do what you say you will; and if you can’t, that they will be notified in advance.

2.       Maintain confidences.

Don’t break trust by divulging a confidence brought to you by an employee or co-worker. Also, don’t get involved in hurtful or destructive gossip. Once the bond of trust has been broken, it’s very difficult to salvage and you may have irreversibly broken a relationship.

3.       Respect boundaries.

Know where to draw the line in relationships with team members. Let them take the lead, some may be more forthcoming than others when it comes to their personal lives. A few may be territorial about their work assignments. Respect these differences and work with them, not against them.

4.       Be kind.

You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend but small actions that signal sensitivity and caring, and demonstrate strength and fairness will improve everyone’s sense of well-being. Even if you have a tough message to communicate, such as disciplining staff or even firing someone, it doesn’t need to be cruel.

5.       Acknowledge the contributions of others.

Recognise the work of others by sharing positive feedback with the team. But again, be sensitive to people’s personalities, some may be more embarrassed than welcoming of public praise. Creating an environment of mutual support builds confidence among staff and helps people feel valued and part of a team.

Earning and maintaining the trust of your team members has a profoundly positive impact on individual, team and organisational performance. This directly contributes to higher levels of personal job satisfaction and the ultimate success of your employees and the organisation as a whole.


About Lee Hecht Harrison

Lee Hecht Harrison offers talent development solutions throughout the entire employee lifecycle – from onboarding, through career and leadership development, engagement and retention to redeployment and transition. With over 270 offices worldwide, Lee Hecht Harrison is the global talent development leader.

Lee Hecht Harrison is a part of Adecco Group, the world leader in workforce solutions with over 6,600 offices in over 70 countries and territories around the world. For more information, please visit


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