The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer for: How do you build trust with your employees? is by Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite.
In today’s workplace trust has become a lost art. With job seekers now changing jobs every four years (and millennials even more often), companies don’t trust their employees to stick around for long — and job seekers don’t trust their employers to keep them around. Since the 2008 economic collapse, layoffs have become even more commonplace than they were before, helping to essentially erase trust in the workplace.
The truth is, you can’t really trust any employee to stay at your company forever — but encouraging longer, more valuable tenure is the next best thing. Take steps toward creating a work environment that bonds employees, encourages loyalty and ultimately, fosters trust. Building this trust means ensuring that your leadership style aligns directly with your company’s values, and that your culture evolves to fit what your employee’s need. So what does this culture look like? Here are some guidelines from my time at the executive table:
Offer growth opportunities
People today care about their careers; they’re no longer innocent bystanders. Instead job seekers are armed to protect themselves from future recessions and grow in economic upturns. Providing a clear career track and opportunities for advancement is a sure fire way to strengthen trust at your company. However, this doesn’t mean promoting people left and right. Whether these growth opportunities take the form of training sessions, mentorship programs, leadership courses or learning tools, investing in the personal and professional growth of your employees is key to building that first link of care, investment and — down the line — trust.
Keep employees engaged
Engaged employees are the most productive and the most satisfied. But fostering this engagement doesn’t only come from ping-pong tables and beer on tap. Employees must be able to relate to each other on a personal level, not just through their work. So whatever the activity is (book club, baseball games, happy hours, etc.) make sure it promotes cultivating deeper relationships. If you build an environment where folks can interact outside of their normal 9-to-5, your team will learn to trust each other when it matters.
It’s widely known that customer feedback is the most important element of customer service. But getting feedback from employees is a much more intimidating feat. Nothing makes someone more inclined to trust another person than knowing that her or his voice is heard and understood. Try an internal workplace survey one-on-one check-ins, or devise your own method of gathering employee comments.
The second piece to listening is actual action: how are you addressing employee feedback? While not every employee is a board member, they still deserve transparency when it comes to concerns, questions and feedback. Keeping things out in the open — and making changes when necessary — goes a long way toward building trust among your employees.
Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you build trust with your employees?
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How this CEO regained trust with his employees byDavid DeWolf, president and CEO of 3Pillar Global.
This is the best way to build trust with your employees by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.
The real reason your employees quit by Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor.