The new social contract between employer and employee is no longer about loyalty; it’s about trust. Employees are saying, “I will work hard for you as long as you are trustworthy and you show that you trust me.” Employers are saying, “I can’t promise long-term employment, but if you are trustworthy and you trust me, I will support you and compensate you.” What both employees and employers mean is that while they can’t make long-term commitments to each other, if they feel respected and can count on each other to do what they say they will do and use good judgment in doing it, they will come through for each other.
Managers, unfortunately, do many things intentionally and unintentionally that lose the trust of employees. For example, they conduct employee surveys without engaging employees in a discussion of the findings and not doing anything differently because of the findings. They ask employees to attend training events but then don’t provide opportunities to apply that learning on-the-job nor do they show any interest in what employees have learned. Employers say that people are their most important asset and then they don’t ask employees what they think. They tell employees that this is an organization in which everyone can develop their abilities and then they don’t provide coaching and feedback.
Building and keeping trust requires avoiding these pitfalls. And it requires developing and applying certain behaviors and values. RealTime Performance writes this about trust:
At its most basic level, trust is the confidence people have that you will predictably act in their best interest, never knowingly committing actions that might harm them. There is no single activity that will build trust; rather, you establish trust over time by consistently exhibiting a number of behaviors and values.
- Be accountable for your actions
- Act consistently with your words
- Live your values and communicate them regularly
- Admit mistakes and take blame
- Listen for understanding
- Act with integrity and ethics
- Be an advocate for a fear-free culture
- Face reality
- Provide honest feedback
- Build trust with openness
Go to 10X10 for more information and resources for learning about each of these actions.