Why building trust among your workforce is vital, and how to do it

Trust may seem like a trivial element of organisational culture to some. However, it has the ability to fundamentally make or break not just your culture, but your business as a whole...
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Why building trust among your workforce is vital, and how to do it
Employees who feel trusted are 260% more motivated to work

In the simplest of terms, trust is the cornerstone upon which successful organisations are built. It serves as the bedrock of strong relationships, fostering collaboration and ultimately building robust culture. It’s also so heavily intertwined with employee experience, and therefor instilling trust within an organisation has some impressively hard business outcomes. MIT Sloan Business School research states that employees who feel that they have trust are 260% more motivated to work, have 41% lower rates of absenteeism.

Trust also has a vast impact on the retention and recruitment piece which, in today's competitive talent and business landscape, is absolutely fundamental. It’s in times of upheaval when retention and employee engagement are most paramount, and it’s worth noting that the transaction between businesses and workers is changing. Emerging generations fully understand their value, and expect more from their employers; a founding principle of attracting younger generations is trust.

In organisations where trust is felt, workers are 50% less likely to look for another job. An impressive 50% more of those under the age of 35 working at high-trust organisations planned to stay with their employer over the next year, and 88% more said they would recommend their company a good place to work.

Research also consistently shows that high-trust organisations outperform their counterparts in several key areas, and it’s clear to see why this may be the case; as both the MIT research, and data from PwC states that employees are happier, healthier and more productive than their untrusted counterparts.

In its 2016 global survey, PwC reported that employees at high-trust companies experienced 74% less stress, had a massive 106% more energy at work, gave 76% more engagement, had 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and perhaps most importantly, experienced 40% less burnout. They’re more productive, innovative, and collaborative, inevitably leading to better business outcomes.

But what about when trust isn’t instilled as a basic business imperative? What happens when employees feel that they don’t have the trust of their leaders and organisation? The data is just as shocking; compared with employees at high-trust organisations, low-trust workers had 89% less empathy for their workmates, and depersonalised them 59% more often.

In organisations where trust is felt, workers are 50% less likely to look for another job.

This shows that feeling a lack of trust is a self-perpetuating cycle, which threatens to sour culture. Unsurprisingly, those who felt a lack of trust from their senior leaders experienced 60% more burnout from their work. 59% also noted that they felt no accomplishment from their work.

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