Trust Gap Grows

via LinkedIn
April 13th, 2016

The Edelman TRUST BAROMETER 2016 is yet another wake-up call for every business leader who doesn’t recognize the importance of trust. Whether you lead a global workforce or couple of part-time employees in your home office, the trust topic deserves attention. According to Edelman’s report,

In an era where the employee voice is still more credible than a CEO, those very employees have grown more distrusting and skeptical of institutions and leadership.

The report links the behavior of leaders and the willingness of employees to advocate for their company.

Nearly one in three employees don’t trust their employer. And more than two thirds feel that CEOs are too focused on short-term performance.

…the employee is the most trusted spokesperson on how businesses perform, operate, manage crises and treat their people. The implication is clear. Employees who trust their leaders will be more likely to say good things about their employer. And consumers will believe them.

By the same token, employees who don’t trust their leaders will be less likely to say good things about their employer. And they too will be believed by consumers. Your employees are credible sources of information about your company. For better or worse.

The importance of trust is not a new idea. Numerous studies have found that building a high-trust workplace culture yields tangible business benefits.

Sheri Nasim, CEO of the Center for Executive Leadership, describes how to create a high-trust culture based on examples from three companies:

1. Define Your Company's Purpose and Connect People to It. 
Number 47 on the list of Best Companies to Work For in 2016 is Hyatt. Hyatt achieved this success, according to Robb Webb, EVP of CHRO at Hyatt Hotels, by abandoning scripts of a rigid set of questions customers were asked a check in, designed to “collect data and generate a higher profit:guest ratio, rather than improve the guest experience.”

“Today,” Webb said, “we tell employees to throw away the maps (or the scripts) and use a compass to find true north (our purpose).” Hyatt’s purpose is simple – We care for people so they can be their best. To achieve that purpose, Webb asks colleagues to follow 3 simple rules: 

1) Be in the moment
2) Be yourself
3) Meet the guest where the guest is in the moment.

2. Get Your Values Off the Walls.
Number 6 on the list of Best Companies to Work For in 2016 is Atlassian, an enterprise software company based in Australia—with no sales force. Their strategy was to make great software and hope that people would build great things with it and tell their friends. In addition, they have an unconventional set of core values that shape its culture and its products. Jeff Diana, Atlassian's Chief People Officer, shared the company’s core values.

48 hours before each new employee begins the job,” Diana said, “they get a welcome box delivered to their home.” Among the items in the box are temporary tattoos for each of the company’s core values. “We encourage new employees to show up to work wearing their favorite value tattoo,” said Diana, “It’s a great conversation starter about what our values mean and how we use them every day to make business decisions.”

3. Give Employees a Voice. 
Number 42 on the list of Best Companies to Work For in 2016 is San Diego-based Scripps Health. President & CEO Chris Van Gorder described how listening to the voice of employees lead a to landmark turnaround of the hemorrhaging company.

“An integral part of the turnaround strategy,” Van Gorder told guests at a Scripps Health site visit, “was to enlist the staff directly in the planning of the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute – the largest provider of cardiovascular medicine, research and training on the West Coast.”  “We had a voice in designing every detail from the size of the elevators to the configuration of the patient rooms,” said Chief Nurse and Operations Executive Cindy Steckel.  The staff tested their designs in rooms marked “Day In the Life” to assess patient safety, staff circulation, and infection control.

In summary Ms. Nasim writes,

If you look over these three examples carefully, you’ll notice that these organizations have found ways to treat employees like adults.  They give them inspiration, motivation, and the tools necessary to get the job done – then get out of their way and trust them to deliver results.

Read her LinkedIn article "Got What It Takes to Become a Great Place to Work®?"