April 19, 2009

Trust begets trust

Posted by Bizaholic | 11:21 PM | , with 0 comments »

Employee engagement and trust go hand in hand. Employees feel engaged with an organization when they trust the management. And they trust the management when the management trusts them. Trust begets trust.

The problem arises when management starts with the premise that employees cannot be trusted upfront and they must achieve a degree of confidence over a period of time before they could be trusted. Experience shows that this is an unproductive way of building trust. Often, this approach breeds more distrust.

There is another radical way of quickly building mutual trust between management and employees. The premise of this approach is - trust your employees and see whether they are trustworthy or not. Generally, people would rise above the call of their duty to ensure that the trust reposed in them is not betrayed. Anybody who breaks the trust is not worthy of being trusted and it would be better to get rid of that person.

Let's take the example of expense statement approval. Let the employee approve his own expense statement without any need for approval by his supervisor. Employee will feel important and trusted by the management. Anyone found misusing this power should be immediately shown the door to set an example of consequences of betraying trust. Everyone will feel a higher degree of responsibility and accountability apart from the invigorating feeling of being trusted. Small steps like this can go a long way in building an environment of trust and integrity within an organization.

The journey of excellent employee engagement begins with small steps in generating mutual trust. The more trust flows into the system, higher the employee engagement level. This approach also helps in weeding out people who are not trustworthy thereby maintaining a healthy corporate environment.