The COVID-19 Pandemic is radically shifting how many businesses run. Leaders have had to pivot rapidly, reorganising and rallying their staff to push forward in an unprecedented period.
Some business leaders think COVID-19 marks a permanent turning point. At the centre of the seismic change is the reshaping of corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviours that influence how a company’s employees and management interact.
Trust being tested to its limits
Right this moment, organisational trust is being stretched to its limits, maybe even more so than following the 2008 economic crisis. Along with the significant disruptions across all societal establishments due to the current pandemic, this specific situation has brought even more focus on the critical importance of organisational trust.
Whose responsibility is trust?
The answer is “everyone who is employed by the organisation.”
To help businesses ensure this notion takes hold, consider the following:
- Trust is fostered by leadership and created by people.
- Recruitment practices must include a trust component that has adds value.
- Trust must start at the very top of the tree (Board, Chair, CEO) and flow downwards.
- Middle managements can attempt to nuture trust, but it will not be as good as a top-down imperative
What are the indications of a low trust culture? Look inside your firm. Add up how many of these particular signs exist that indicate a low trust culture:
- Low energy, low output and burnout
- Higher employee turnover and too much use of sick days
- Difficulties recruiting new personnel
- Lots of rules, regulations and no fun
- Little innovation
- No sharing of knowledge and resistance to ideas
- Absence of respect and passive-aggressive behaviour
What are the signs of a high trust culture? Now think about some signals in a high trust culture and add up how many you see inside your organisation:
- High energy, motivation and engagement
- Straightforward to hire and onboard new employees
- Fun and laughter
- Higher confidence, creativity and risk-taking
- Team alignment, sharing of knowledge and credit, and quick forgiveness
- Accountability and visibility are the norm
- Willingness to be open, speak freely, and to listen
- Thriving innovation and productivity
- Positive team-building behaviours including gratitude and empathy
- A strong sense of “community” and shared beliefs
What sort of organisation would you instead like to lead or work for: An organisation where trust is missing or one with high trust?
Shifting to a better trust culture
If senior leadership does not view low trust as a significant risk, they need to reconsider. The level of trust directly impacts every vital component of an organisation from innovation to customer loyalty to employee retention and hiring.
Leaders must acknowledge that trust is low, desire to build trust, and instil it throughout the organisation. Words are generally ineffective. Actions are what makes a difference. A common language of trust, as well as a platform, must be created based on the behaviours that gain trust.
An assessment must be conducted to determine the current level of organisational trust and which practices are creating trust disruptions. Leaders must budget for and follow a trust-building approach that is built from within with an end goal in mind.
Trust is a competency. It is usually learned and mastered through daily practice. The things we already know about the benefits of high trust in the past continues to be amplified.
Often, it does take an emergency to remind us what goes on when trust is ignored or neglected. For most businesses, acknowledging lower trust for the substantial risk it presents remains the most significant challenge. However, creating a culture of high trust will lead to increased levels of engagement and emotional loyalty.
Want to learn more on how you can develop a culture of high trust? Visit BeagleHR.com