June 15, 2021
Performance Management 16 June 2020
10 Simple Ways to Build Trust and Boost Employee Engagement
Daniela McVicker

The present business environment and the world, in general, is moving more rapidly than it has ever done it before. Worldwide organizations and companies are confronted with more change than most of them can manage. They are determined to grow quickly with fewer resources, meaning to do more with less. Managers are obliged to learn to excel by acting properly within their teams and in confronting organizational goals simultaneously.

Most leaders are aware that the employees are a company’s most important asset. In fact, that is accurate when the majority of the workforce is totally engaged in their work. If not, they are either adding minimal value or actively working against the organization. Today more than ever, companies count on the energy, commitment, and engagement of their employees in order to survive and flourish in the twenty-first century. 

Trust is difficult to be achieved and it must be constantly re-earned by the employer. Employee engagement is not an exact science. The entire concept has been created on HR experience, positive psychology, and business models. All these engage a company’s talent towards a productive culture of success. Why don’t employees get more engaged with their employers? It seems that in spite of all the efforts, energy, and money spent on trying to improve how engaged people are at work, things aren’t moving very far or very fast. Steve Donaghue, a passionate and globally recognized motivational leadership speaker and entrepreneur, in a very recent article on Top Writers Review states:

“The number of lunches, performance reviews, volunteer program outings, and team-building exercises does not produce higher levels of employee engagement”

How can employers build trust and improve engagement? Here are 10 strategies to be taken into consideration:  

1. Put Everyone in the Right Position

Make sure you get the right people on the bus and give them the right roles. This means that all talent acquisition and retention methods must be aligned with meeting the company goals. Besides considering technical skills, take into account behavioral and soft skills as well when considering a candidate for a position.

Hire people with qualities you can build on such as integrity, enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, a sense of humor, and a sincere interest in your business, to name a few. Technical business can always be taught but changing one’s approach is definitely more difficult.

2. Give the Employees the Proper Training

Every manager or leader should be aware that he will be able to build a culture of trust and accountability and even improve engagement — only by setting the team up for success. This means providing suitable training and development for the employees while removing obstacles. Clare Watson - Operations Director at Zolv says

“No manager can expect a team to be trusting and accountable without the correct training. Engagement levels will soar if you provide employees with training and opportunities for personal and professional development."

Clare goes on to say that you can further a team's engagement and trust levels by identifying each individual's strengths and weaknesses and offering them training tailored to enhance the strong points and tackle the weaker ones. This will show that you are thinking about them on an individual basis, not just as part of the machine.

3. Practice Consistent and Transparent Communication

One of the biggest errors that leaders make is considering that employees can handle only good news and shouldn’t be exposed to the business challenges that a company goes through.  In order to avoid this, first set a typical time to review business results and to talk about strategies. Secondly, encourage two-way communication: ask for questions and suggestions. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com says,

"My best advice for increasing an employee's trust and engagement is simply to communicate with them. Make yourself available, too. Encourage their questions, comments, and/or thoughts when they have them and address their needs as promptly as possible." 

Giving the employees a voice in the company (that you take seriously!) will build trust.

4. Establish Values

Company values represent instruments that help employees know what is important to the company and that guide them towards the decisions they have to make. Managers that conduct themselves according to the company values show employees that they can be trusted to do what is expected of them. Incorporate your values into the company vision and mission.

Nothing will damage the trust relationship more than seeing an employer making decisions that are opposite of established company values. You will end up by destroying your credibility and trust. Employees and managers must work together with the same values and standards to be truly effective and successful as a team. This team symbiosis is not an easy objective to achieve, and it’s definitely not a quick one, but it is crucial to the final objective and to the overall performance of the project. 

5. Produce Opportunities for Involvement

The employees’ trust will diminish as long as they see their managers making decisions without any input from them. That is why it is advisable to allow the employees to face the company issues and then, listen to their feedback. Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-Founder of Mettl says

"Always make it a point to listen to your employees, irrespective of their job roles and positions. Give them enough room to provide a constant feedback and advice or suggestions. Active listening results in action, the employees must feel their voices are being noted and acted upon."

Show them that you value their opinions and integrate their goals with long-term growth within your company. Clare from Zolv says to:

"Talk to them about how they want to progress and what they will need to get there. Set them targets to hit to help them achieve their career goals. Doing so will be evidence that you don't just want to train them up so they can do better elsewhere, you want them to stay, grow and continue to add worth to your company."

By doing this, Clare says that  "The employee will feel driven to excel and the company will have a more qualified, rounded member of staff working for them.”

6. Invest in Employee Growth and Development

Nobody wants to be stuck in the same place doing the same thing for the rest of their careers. Employees will want to advance and progress in the company. If you provide opportunities for them to grow and actively support them in their journey, it will increase their trust in you. Eric Hobbs of Technology Associates,

“As a business owner, I find that investing in your people is the best way to boost engagement in your organization. Doing so highlights the fact that you value what they bring to the table, that you respect their skills and are willing to invest time and money behind developing it, and that you value their ability to deliver a job well done."

Eric goes on to say that investing in employees could include making sure they have the right tools to help make their job easier, or it could come in the form of additional training and workshops to develop new skills. It could even be as simple as offering incentives—from monetary to working remotely to time.

7. Trust Employees in Return

If you want to build your employees' trust, you must learn to trust them as well! It's a two-way street where both sides have to work at building trust to truly be successful. Gennady Litvin, attorney at Moshes Law says,

"I like the mindset of “trust is automatically given until broken”. So give them your trust and see what they do with it. If they take advantage of it then you know what you’re working with. When you give someone something like your trust or responsibilities, they’re more likely to take it seriously so that they don’t let you down."

A side benefit of trusting employees with more responsibilities is that you are also developing them into leaders of your organization. David Scarola, Vice President of The Alternative Board (TAB) says,

"By creating a company culture based on trust, you give your employees the opportunity to be creative and initiate innovation. Give them the authority to make decisions and back them up critically, but all the way. A company culture focused on turning team members into leaders will increase employee engagement across the board." 

8. Show Empathy and Benevolence Without Commercial Purpose

Employees want to see that it’s not all about the profit and that the company can be trusted to make decisions that show compassion and consideration beyond the bottom line. Take interest in your employees as people and help them with their personal lives and goals. Will Craig, Managing Director of LeaseFetcher supports this saying,

"Be kind without expecting anything in return. If you want to build trust with your employees, demonstrate to them that you're coming from a genuine place and are not motivated by any outside motives, like profit or getting your business one step ahead of others."

Chris goes on to say that if employees sense that you're being false when you're trying to engage them in the workplace, it will be hard to build trust and improve engagement. Build trust gradually by being open, friendly and accommodating and prove to them that you aren't just motivated by money.

9. Notice the Employees’ Contributions

Recognition alone helps the employees improve their engagement, but it can also help build trust. The members of a company want to have their efforts acknowledged. A warm “thank you” for a job well done will not only make your employees feel valued, but trust will be also consolidated. 

Hiring managers should also take into consideration that raising salaries to their employees will determine these ones to become more inspired and more engaged.

Employers ought to refill their staff energy tanks with some recognition as well as celebrate their hard work. This is one of the best ways to connect their teams together! There are a lot of important moments that worth being celebrated (birthdays, promotions, retirements, etc.) and that show the employers that they really matter.

10. Be Transparent About the Company 

Successful managers are transparent in their approach to improving engagement — they talk about it with their teams all the time. They should have thematic meetings where they ought to engage everybody in discussions and finding solutions for company problems. Vivek from Listables says:

"Be transparent as humanly possible with company affairs. From potential problems to successes to the overall objectives for your company and even the reasoning behind the set objectives.  If you practice transparency, employees feel inspired behind a united purpose leading to happier and engaged employees."

If we are to draw a conclusion, we could sum up that nowadays managers and leaders build their company brand both through external and internal efforts. Playing on two battlefields at the same time can eventually be tricky. That is the reason why some companies choose to focus their resources only on the external branding front. Unfortunately, they neglect their internal environment, failing to implement an engaging, challenging and appealing workplace.

The ways for building trust and boosting engagement aren’t complex but they simply must be prioritized. This means that engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role. Employers should not forget that what works for one company might not work for another. It’s important that they try and adapt the methods until they find the perfect ones for boosting their employees’ engagement. 

Employers should always take into consideration that their attitude is the main factor that keeps the company on the correct track. Your enthusiasm and passion will determine if employees feel the positive energy coming from their employer which will definitely affect their performance.

Daniela McVicker is a career coach and an editor at Grab My Essay and Trust My Paper. She’s also a business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success in their career paths.