How to Increase Engagement through Trust

How to Increase Engagement through Trust
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Why Increase Engagement Through Trust?
We think of employee engagement as the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work. The stronger that positive connection, the less likely employees are to leave. Additionally, engaged employees who have a clear line of sight and have positive feelings toward their manager are over 40% more productive than their disengaged counterparts — reason enough to want to increase engagement.

Where Does Trust Fit In?
Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships and sets the stage for higher performance. A lack of trust is like a poison. It undermines individual and team performance.

With high levels of trust, employees feel safe to communicate openly and feel comfortable enough with each other to take reasonable risks to learn and grow. Without trust, employees are apt to create silos where they work on their own. They don’t collaborate or share information and are apt to work at cross purposes and less efficiently.

In essence, a team without trust will never reach its full potential.

One Leader’s Take on How to Build Trust
At the Reagan National Defense Forum in 2019, Jeff Bezos described what he did to build trust at Amazon:

  • Do “The Hard Things Well”
    He maintains that it’s important not to shy away from difficult challenges and when you do take them on, do them well.
  • Do “What You Said You Were Going To Do”
    You build trust when you deliver on your commitments consistently.  At a minimum, you should inform stakeholders the second you think you may need to reset expectations.  This includes following through on employee engagement survey results.
  • Be Ready To “Say, No”
    Bezos maintains that building trust does not require that you always be agreeable. On the contrary, as long as you are clear, employees will respect your position even though it is not the same as theirs.  Often, leaders must say No!

What the Research Says about Trust
A high trust work culture is simply good for people and good for business.  When compared to lower trust companies, the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies found that employees in high-trust companies are:

  • 50% more productive
  • 106% more energetic
  • 40% more likely to stay longer
  • 76% more engaged, and
  • 74% less stressed

Further research points toward two key factors: consistency and follow-through.

The Bottom Line
If you are looking to improve employee engagement, first closely evaluate the level of trust throughout the organization. You need a solid foundation of trust in your leaders, in your managers, and among team members. Only then can you begin to increase engagement and aspire to a build a high performance culture.

To learn more about how to increase engagement through trust, download 29 Ways to Build and Maintain Trust as a Leader

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