Building Trust in the Workplace: How-To’s and Recommendations

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Do your employees trust your company, particularly your HR team? There’s a valid reason they should – after all, building trust in the workplace is at the root of a successful relationship between a company and its employees.

The most thriving workplace cultures are ones where employees work with a sense of purpose and are fully engaged. This means that the organization is full of people they can trust and collaborate it with easily. Trust also helps build a positive work culture, boost morale, increase productivity and improve the loyalty of employees to one another and the company as a whole.

Additional academic research reveals that there are strong correlations between trust and economic success since people and teams are more willing to move freely and competitively in a safe space. This trust can be translated into three things in a company setup: transparency, fairness, and consistency.

With transparency, employees can feel comfortable working for a company where they’re aware of how everything works and whether they’re ethically aligned with their vision. For fairness, employees are more at ease when they know there’s no risk of getting discriminated against or being passed up on career advancement because of favoritism, which can help easily build trust in a workplace. Lastly, consistency in the workplace helps provide employees with a constant and strong framework, allowing them to increase productivity and organizational understanding.

How then do you build a stronger culture of trust at work?

From implementing integrity tests for hiring to recognizing employee accolades, here are a few examples of how to build trustworthiness in the workplace.

For more information and inquiries about integrity tests, don’t hesitate to contact Aptitude today.

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Develop a pre-employment screening process

Nothing can strengthen the culture of trust at work like employees who trust one another. Knowing that they’re working with honest and reliable people helps develop trust in the workplace, since they’ll be at ease when they go about their daily tasks.

One of the best first steps to develop this culture of trust in any workplace is by putting together an effective and comprehensive pre-employment screening process, with specific tests and exams that can target an applicant’s attitude, responsibility, and accountability. If you’re planning on developing a pre-employment screening process, consider these exams:

  1. Skills Assessments – The first exam that potential employees need to undergo is a customized skills test where they will be assessed regarding their abilities relative to the job position they’re applying for.
  2. Integrity and Personality Tests – These two types of tests work hand-in-hand in assessing an applicant’s attitude, motivations, principles, and ethics. These will measure and evaluate if an applicant will be able to align with the company culture seamlessly or not.
  3. Background Checks – Background checks are essential in making sure that you’re hiring trustworthy employees. You can also avoid putting your company’s safety at risk by verifying applicants’ identities and backgrounds. This may also help your employees develop trust in the workplace faster since they’ll be confident that everyone’s gone through an extensive check.

When these are effectively put in place, you can make more informed and unbiased decisions about a certain applicant before they join the team.

The good news is that there are recruitment companies that can offer a comprehensive series of tests to properly assess each candidate, from employee background check services to science-backed personality tests. By allowing applicants to go through these exams and verifications, companies and their current employees are reassured that the HR team is doing their best to onboard only the most trustworthy applicants. This overall increases their trust in the HR team and the company as a whole.

Place emphasis on confidentiality

If you want to increase trust in the workplace, the HR team has to lead by example. While it’s true that members of your HR team are technically employees who are also part of the workplace and can mingle with others, they should always keep in mind that they’re part of the team that safeguards employee confidentiality. If each employee has to undergo an integrity test for employment, then it’s also fair that the HR team can also be trusted with sensitive information.

For instance, if a member of your HR team shares details about another employee that was meant to be kept private, employees who hear about the gossip won’t feel safe sharing details about their lives (both personal and work-related) with the entire HR department.

On the flipside, if employees see that your HR team is keeps employee information confidential at all costs, they will feel much more inclined or comfortable to share things about themselves and their work problems with HR. They will also trust their boss and co-workers more as they won’t have to worry about the possibility of people finding out private information about them that could potentially affect their work dynamics.

In turn, when employees see this being upheld by the HR team, they will eventually follow suit and gossip less about the private lives of their co-workers, contributing to the culture of trust that you want to build in the workplace.

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Focus on personal growth

Employees already know that you expect them to grow in their jobs and further their careers within the organization. However, do you also encourage their personal growth outside of the workplace?

From the moment you make candidates undergo integrity and pre-employment skills testing, you already recognize that each employee is multi-dimensional. When you make the extra effort to cater to both their professional and personal desires, you create a safe culture where everyone is encouraged to grow and rely on one another.

How you wish to communicate this is up to you. You can either provide benefits that promote strong and healthy lifestyle or opportunities that contribute to better work and life balance. Choose something that says you care about your employees, more than the reports and profit they reel in. When you show that you support their lives, at work and beyond, the culture of trust at your workplace will inevitably strengthen.

Avoid favoritism

When you were in elementary school, did you know who your teacher’s favourites were? Even if your teacher didn’t state it explicitly, you could tell by the way they acted that they liked specific students more than others. It’s not a good feeling to feel left out by authority figures, right? That feeling remains true even well into adulthood.

If HR employees spend all of their time with just a couple of certain employees, others will likely become suspicious or feel left out. The employees who feel left out will understandably question why HR spends so much time with only select employees and wonder what they’re talking about. They might even start thinking that they’re the ones being talked about. Unfortunately, this may cause employees – especially new ones – to have difficulties trying to assimilate, with some even questioning whether they could fit in with the culture of the company. With culture fit being one of the top reasons why employees stay, this difficulty may not bode well for company retention.

By having favorites, your HR team could completely ruin the confidence of some employees. It’s good practice for your HR team to build personal relationships with each employee and treat all workers with same amount of care and respect.

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Conclusion: Trust takes hard work

In the workplace, trust is something you earn. It comes from conscious effort to keep your promises, walk your talk, and align your behavior with your company’s core values. Building trust, be it through integrity test for hiring or just making sure you keep private information confidential, will be worth all the effort.

If you want to earn the trust of employees and engage them in the company, your actions will matter. It takes involvement at every level, from the hiring process to daily operations, to create a genuine bond that motivates employees to put in their best effort and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

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