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The Importance of Organizational Trust

Aug 17, 2007
Trust is the foundation of success both in our personal lives an in our working relationships. In fact, all relationships are built on trust and for one to have a workforce that excels one must have organizational trust in place. Let's explore the importance of organization trust.

Few would argue with you if you made the statement that in order to have a cohesive, productive workforce one must have organizational trust. If that trust is not present there will be unrest and poor production in the organization.

Trust begins with management since they are the initiators of trust. It is very important that all management understand the importance of trust, how to promote trust within the company, and their role in building trust. Integrity, a good rapport with employees, and competence all play a role in determining organizational trust.

The biggest problem is that trust is rather elusive making it difficult to maintain over time. It is critical that management make employees feel both valued and trusted, and that the company is in fact acting with integrity looking out for their welfare. Sadly, in today's job market only about 40% of all employees have trust in senior management's abilities. That's proof that there is definitely room for improvement.

More recent events in business will make it even more difficult for organizational trust to thrive. Enron, World Com, and Tyco are who you have to thank for making it more difficult to get your staff to believe in you and trust you. The workplace has taken on a cynical attitude when it comes to business and trust, and rightfully so. There simply have been far to many scandals in the past few years. Today even small things can become issues that chip away at the trust factor.

Today's economic factors also play into the lack of trust. Companies are reducing staff causing another level of distrust. Employees no longer have the loyalty to their employers, leaving employees wondering if they are next to be on the layoff list.

When employees are distrusting it has a direct effect on production. The same goes for management that does not trust their staff. They waste valuable time checking up on employees rather than being productive.

Since you now know the importance of organizational trust, here are some ways to build and maintain that trust. Open communication builds trust. That includes telling the truth and sharing both good and bad information at all levels. It also encourages creativity. It allows for disagreement without having to worry about negative repercussions and it always maintains a level of integrity while encouraging open discussion.

To earn trust you must be honest and embrace change. You must also lead by example, provide training opportunities, offer early retirement, and management that is visible at all levels of the company.

You can maintain trust by rewarding positive activities, management doing what they say they will do while also rewarding trust behavior.

There is no question about the importance of organization trust. When there is trust productivity is high, absenteeism is low, and the work environment has a positive attitude.
About the Author
Terry Fitzroy is an organizational team development , change management , and organizational trust writer and author.
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