It’s easy to lose focus on what matters in terms of employee satisfaction. You focus on small perks or bonuses and lose sight of the big picture.
New research confirms what you probably already knew to be true: trust between managers and employees is the number one factor in building strong relationships.
In a recent study, Ultimate Software found that 93% of employees surveyed believe trust in their direct supervisor was the most important factor in workplace satisfaction.
This is a simple yet unsurprising fact.
Yet a recent Deloitte survey found half of employees don’t trust their employers. What are these employers doing wrong? Are they corrupt organizations, ready to steal every last dollar from shareholders and employees alike? Probably not, but at the very least, these companies aren’t encouraging employees to put their faith in them.
Here are three ways to turn that around:
01. Increase transparency
“Information is a valuable commodity and sharing it with your employees will help you in the long run,” says business growth specialist Carol Evenson. “Keep your employees aware of performance metrics, financial results, upcoming business process management strategies, and plans that you have in the works.”
Employees want honest feedback and they want to know how healthy their company is. They want to be included when the organization makes major decisions. Transparency is one of the most important leadership qualities that helps lower employee turnover rates.
02. Keep your promises
Just like in everyday life, people trust business leaders who do what they say they’re going to do. Everyone has had a boss who promises the world and can’t deliver. Before making a public commitment, ensure you can follow it up with action. If you do promise big, you need to provide employees with the right tools and training to accomplish lofty goals.
“Breaking promises to your employees immediately signals to them that you do not consider them to be important,” Evenson says, “which will consequently damage their relationships with management.”
03. Maintain communication
Keeping employees in the loop is essential to building trust. When decisions are made behind closed doors, faith in management begins to erode. Employees who know where they stand with the company, who understand how to move up in the company, and who are informed on what major initiatives are in the pipeline will be more likely to trust management.
This includes soliciting feedback from employees regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. It could come in the form of pulsing surveys that give you a snapshot of what employees are thinking at a particular moment in time. Or it could be in the form of regular town hall meetings in which employees are encouraged to discuss issues weighing on their minds.
Sometimes employee engagement involves getting back to the basics. High-quality employee-employer relationships aren’t automatic. Organizations that understand the work it takes to build trust will be more successful.