Ellen Warden, SPHR
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
Atlanta, GA

A recent Deloitte survey found that 48 percent of U.S. workers plan to look for a new job once the economy improves. Why? One reason could be that 50 percent of workers no longer trust their employers and feel they are being treated unfairly.

Does it matter if I trust you? How would it affect your business if half your employees were looking for another job?

Leadership guru and business author Tom Peters observes, “Maybe the boss can force a person to show up for work, especially in trying times, but one cannot, by definition, force a person to contribute his or her passion and imagination on a regular basis.”

”Trust” creates consistent passion and commitment to a common goal.  It forms the foundation for effective communication, employee motivation, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in their work, and employee retention. Leaders who have built that reservoir of trust secure many rewards for their business: engaged employees, retention of top talent, cohesive teamwork, and – most important – results. Organizations that prosper in the long run commit to a culture of trust and integrity in their products and services, their processes and people.  They “walk the talk,” even in challenging times.

As a leader in your firm, do you know where you stand?

Do your employees believe that you have the best interests of the firm and your team at heart?

If one of your team members came across potentially damaging information would they share it with you or hide it?

Do people tell you the truth even when it hurts to do so?

What is your customer churn rate? Do you have a history of long-term customer and supplier relationships?

What is your reputation or brand equity in the marketplace?

Here are 5 warning signs that trust may be an issue in your organization, or for you personally. Have you observed any of these behaviors?

Low energy and initiative.  People tend to over-promise and under-deliver, not following through on their commitments.  There are a lot of unfulfilled expectations for which employees make many excuses.

Turf wars and unhealthy competition.  Facts are manipulated or distorted.  People spin the truth, withhold or hoard information and knowledge to gain advantage. New ideas are openly resisted and stifled.

Defensiveness. Mistakes are covered up or covered over.  Many people are involved in a blame game, badmouthing others.  Getting the credit is very important.

An active, inaccurate grapevine.  There is an abundance of gossip and “water cooler” talk.  There are numerous “meetings after the meetings”.

Unproductive tension – sometimes even fear.  There are many “un-discussables.”   People pretend bad things aren’t happening or are in denial.  There is high turnover, or talk of it.

These are some signs that a trust issue may exist in your firm.  But the good news is that it is an issue that can be addressed. Trust is built over time with many small actions– not in one grand gesture.

In the next issue of The Business of Valuation eNewsletter, I’ll suggest strategies you can take to create, promote and demonstrate trust within your firm.

You can reach Ellen at  [email protected].
More information is available at  www.workplacesynergy.com.

Ellen Warden
Ellen Warden