Developing trust in the workplace and the role of HR – a new study

Developing trust in the workplace
Developing trust in the workplace and the role of HR – a new study
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Developing trust in the workplace is a key organisational predictor of performance. Many organisations have stumbled and even failed outright where a lack of trust, doubt and suspicion have grown between the leadership, management and employees. Previous studies have found that mistrust in the workplace predicts high turnover rates, increased absence through sickness, lower levels of productivity, performance and employee satisfaction.

Understanding the process of developing trust in the workplace is therefore incredibly important. An interesting study recently published looks at developing trust in the workplace, how this is linked to performance and what role of HR has to play in this process.

 

Trust is vital for increased performance

Trust is vital for increased performance

The aim of the study

The objectives of the study were to:

  1. Examine the drivers of trust in organisations,
  2. To identify the human resources practices that create trust in the organisation and
  3. To examine the effects of trust on employees’ performance in the organisation.

 

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The 3 factors which create a lack of trust

 

Three factors in particular were found to create low levels of trust and to restrict developing trust in the workplace:

 

  1. Low involvement in decision making
  2. A lack of opportunity to be able to evaluate and give feedback to the organisation on the effectiveness or otherwise of their performance appraisals and
  3. Excessive control by management and managers not listening.

 

How to increase trust in the workplace

How to increase trust in the workplace

 

What helps with developing trust in the workplace

The study, a meta-analysis, found that there a series of factors which aid developing trust in the workplace. These include:

  1. Co-dependency where the managers and employees depend on each other to get the job done
  2. Mutual respect
  3. High levels of engagement, particularly in decision-making
  4. Open communication
  5. Fairness, particularly in appraisals
  6. Being part of a high performing team
  7. Delegation of responsibility
  8. Equality of the distribution of resources
  9. A focus on relationship building

 

The 4 factors which decrease trust in the workplace

The key factors which had the opposite effect of developing trust in the workplace and created a lack of trust include:

 

  1. A lack of transparency, particularly of decisions
  2. Interpersonal and unresolved conflict or conflict that is resolved by resorts to power and status
  3. Disengagement
  4. Low levels of performance

The elements of trust

The elements of trust

The role of HR in developing trust in the workplace

The researchers further found that trust tended to increase in organisations where Human Resources functions have as an explicit aim of helping people to develop trust. In particular the study found that where HR functions explicitly focus on helping to develop:

 

  1. Open communication
  2. Fairness in appraisal
  3. Delegation of responsibility
  4. Equal distribution of resource
  5. Equitable treatment
  6. Relationship building

trust factors increase significantly.

 

HR strategy for developing trust in the workplace

 

The study identified that where HR functions have a three pronged strategy for developing trust, there is a significantly increased likelihood the organisation or company will also increase the levels of trust across the board. HR functions should explicitly and overly target developing trust:

  1. Within and throughout their own function first
  2. Then between themselves and the managers and employees and finally
  3. Help to facilitate the creation of these dimensions between the managers and employees themselves.

 

 

The researchers identified that: “a low level of trust affects their individual performance, team performance, the level of commitment and the engagement they have.”

 

 

Reference – available to members

 

Authentic Leadership and Being Authentic – What does that mean anyway?

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page

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