Having it is Free; Losing it is Pricey
If you’re in a position of leadership in your organization (and who isn’t?), you hold the key to one of the most important elements of employee engagement—trust. Do your employees trust you? I’ve heard and read a lot about organizational trust lately. It’s almost as popular a discussion topic as “organizational transparency.” I’m actually glad that the topic of trust is getting some press time. It’s crucial to employee loyalty and longevity.
As a leader of your organization, you control the stability of your employee’s income. Trust is critical. The employee has placed their family’s economic balance on your organization. We’d all like to think that employees have amassed a little financial nest egg, but the truth is most employees continue to live from one paycheck to the next. Considering the precariousness of most employees’ finances, you can begin to appreciate how important it is that you’re trustworthy.
Trust is not just related to finances. It’s also about creating a trusting work environment. When employees are discussing business issues and strategies, is it collaborative or is it more about documenting whose idea it was, in case it goes south? In a trusting work environment, employees are free to explore growth options without fear of playing the blame game. No one wants to get up and go to work every day where they must defend every action. You hired them because they brought value to your organization. Trust them to be focused on the organization’s mission as they carryout their duties and responsibilities.
Your high performing employees also trust you to maintain a high performing organization. Trust me, the high performers know who the low performers are. They trust you to handle them appropriately. I love the Dilbert cartoon. Recently there was one where the low-performing and annoying employee, Ted, is sitting in front of the Evil HR Director (love it!) who says, “Ted, I’m transferring you to a job with higher risk of industrial accidents. Your new job will involve reaching over a vat of acid while wearing no safety harness.” And Ted asks, “Why do we have a vat of acid?” (Really! That’s what Ted heard?) But, the Evil HR Director, never deterred, responds, “Because toxic fumes take forever.” Be candid with your employees. Don’t manipulate the low performers into leaving. Either coach them to high performance or set them free to excel elsewhere.
Be true to your word. No excuses. Organizations with mutual trust have minimal turnover. Conversely, trust, if lost will probably not be regained by the same group of employees. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m outta here!