How to Build a High-Trust Workplace
The more your employees trust you, the more engaged they’ll be.
These days, it’s hard to read the news without encountering a story about quiet quitting — the notion that swaths of employees have become so disengaged that they’re doing the minimum required to keep their jobs. To address this issue, many organizations are investing in better office spaces, hybrid work support, enhanced employee wellness, and more targeted collection of employee feedback. Other companies in an array of industries are taking a more punitive approach, such as withholding benefits or strong-arming underperformers into taking a buyout.
We contend that leaders need to take a fundamentally different tack, starting by asking the question, “How much do my employees trust me?”
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Our research shows that trust is a critical driver of engagement. Trusting employees are 260% more motivated to work, have 41% lower rates of absenteeism, and are 50% less likely to look for another job. But consider this: We also found that roughly 1 in 4 workers don’t trust their employer. At the same time, most employers overestimate their workforce’s trust level by almost 40%. With this misalignment in trust, it’s no wonder that worker engagement is suffering.
Lack of trust is a huge and destructive problem with no easy fix. But, as we’ll show, systematic trust-building is a critical part of the solution. What has held many leaders back is that they have lacked a simple, robust way to measure, predict, and manage trust and to link specific actions they take to changes in trust levels. Without reliable methods of measurement, managers have struggled to know whether actions intended to enhance trust are actually working.
Many leaders have lacked a simple, robust way to measure, predict, and manage trust and to link specific actions they take to changes in trust levels.
We spent two years developing and testing a novel platform called the HX TrustID that companies can use for free to gauge and tease apart the elements of employee trust and devise strategies for improving it. We are focused on trust-building because this an effective path to elevating human experience — the “HX” in Trust ID. (While our platform can be broadly applied to increase customers’ and other stakeholders’ trust too, here we focus only on its employee applications.) The platform builds on a simple, four-question survey that we validated by collecting 350,000 scores across more than 10 industries.