Trust is the glue that holds all of society together, and it plays an important role in the smooth operation and growth of any company. However difficult it may be to earn the trust of your employees, it can be doubly difficult to regain trust once it is lost. However, trust must be regained, or its loss will begin a growing situation that will hamper all the potential growth of your company.
Although it’s difficult to regain trust that has been lost, it’s not impossible. Here are three ways to capture, maintain, and rebuild employee trust.
1. Capture Trust. Before you can regain an employee’s trust, you must have had it in the first place. Communication and openness is key to gaining the trust of a new employee. This means opening the “black box” of management and discussing new projects and company policies in an open and frank manner that welcomes input and suggestions.
In Practice: Being open in business is not as impossible as it may seem at first. Begin small with open meetings to discuss new potential projects or open discussions on new company policies. Trying different methods will help you determine if synchronous or asynchronous methods work best for your management style.
2. Maintain Trust. Trust is like a good birthday cake that is built with each delicious layer set upon another delicious layer. This means that you must be a good steward of an employee’s trust once you have it. Again, communication is the key to this step. Regularly apprising employees of project progress and company happenings, as well as management decisions, will build an environment where employees can feel that their trust is well placed in the management of your company.
In Practice: Keeping people current on the latest news does not have to become a full-time endeavor. A simple chat in the hallway or a regular, company-wide email can quickly bring staff members up to date and leave you time to keep right on doing business. Should you get ambitious, a monthly newsletter can contain a wealth of information, especially if content creation is divided among project managers and other employees.
3. Rebuild Trust. Still, trust can be a difficult thing to maintain. The ways to break a person’s trust are as varied as the kinds of people there are in the world. Regardless of how trust is lost, it must be regained. The process begins with acknowledging the event causing the break in trust and discussing it calmly. Next comes a prolonged period of recapturing the lost trust with a greater degree of openness and forthrightness. In this process, sincerity is second only to patience. Lost trust may be difficult to regain, but it is certainly possible and well worth the effort.
In Practice: The most direct method of rebuilding lost trust is to tackle the matter head-on. Meet with the employee whose trust you must regain. Be frank and open in discussing the events that led to the current situation. Accept this as a period of open exchanges and constructive criticism. Then immediately follow it with regular communication, and support it with an environment of inclusion.
Many people believe that once trust is lost, it is impossible to regain. But regaining trust is just a part of the full cycle that is involved in gaining, maintaining, and rebuilding employee trust. As with any delicate matter, it can often require a focused, subtle effort. It is, however, by no means impossible if you are sincere in your effort and desire to regain your employee’s trust in order to build a better company for you all.