How HR Can Help to Build Trust in the Workplace
This is a guest post from Laura Greene. Laura is one of the content managers for TrustedEmployees – creative people who provide employment screening solutions to organizations of all kinds through personalization, innovation, and dedication.
In 2014, Interaction Associates conducted a poll on “Building workplace trust: Trends and high performance.” Part of the poll involved Interaction Associates interviewing employees and asking them questions about levels of trust in the workplace. Some of the results were quite shocking. Understandably, 80% of employees reported that they needed to trust their co-workers and boss in order to perform well at their job.
However, it was found that over 50% of employees didn’t trust their boss and 54% had no trust in their company. By these statistics, most employees reportedly feel as though they are unable to perform effectively due to lack of trust in the workplace.Trust is the foundation of any relationship- without it, the relationship cannot survive.
If this trend of employee distrust continues, it could ruin entire companies. So what is the solution? To the surprise of many, the solution may be Human Resources.
It’s no secret that HR isn’t the most popular sector of the company. While many employees may show signs of distrust towards Human Resources, it may, ironically, be the answer to eradicating distrust in the workplace. Human Resources has more power than many employees realize. They know everything about everyone and keep tabs on employees to ensure that they are doing their jobs so that the company can run smoothly.
How exactly can Human Resources help to build trust in the workplace? We’re sharing 3 practical ways to achieve workplace security and trust.
How HR can help build trust in the workplace
Place emphasis on confidentiality
If the goal is to increase trust in the workplace, HR has to lead by example. While it’s true that Human Resources employees are part of the workplace, too, they must navigate this role while also keeping in mind that they are part of the team that safeguards employee confidentiality.
For example, if a HR employee shared details about another employee that was meant to be kept private, employees that hear this gossip won’t feel safe sharing their own information with Human Resources.
On the flipside, if an employee sees an HR employee who is strict about keeping employee information confidential, they will feel much more comfortable sharing with Human Resources; they will also trust their coworkers and boss more because they won’t have to worry about them knowing their personal information.
Thus, employees will follow suit and gossip less about coworkers’ private lives because they can see this “rule” being upheld by HR.
HR must be trustworthy if they want employees to trust them. In addition to prioritizing confidentiality, Human Resource employees need to show genuine care and concern for employees.
If HR is proactive about building trusting relationships with employees and is passionate about advocating for them, employees will be able to confidently place their trust in HR.
By proving that they genuinely care about the well-being of employees, employees will feel more comfortable in the workplace and more trusting of their own employees and boss because they know that HR has their back should any issues arise.
Don’t pick favorites
When you were in elementary school, you knew who the teacher’s favorites were. Even if the teacher didn’t explicitly state this, you could tell by how they acted towards certain students that they liked those ones more than the rest of the class.
It’s not a good feeling to be left out, is it? That fact remains true well into adulthood.
If Human Resource employees spend all of their time with just two or three employees, other employees will likely feel left out and become suspicious. The employees that clearly aren’t the “favorites” will, understandably, begin to question why HR spends so much time with only a few employees and will wonder what it is they talk about- particularly whether or not they themselves are the subject of office gossip.
By picking favorites, HR could completely ruin employee confidence. In order to instill trust in HR and others in the workplace, HR needs to build personal relationships with every employee and treat all employees equally, both in and out of the office.
If Human Resources uses their power and influence correctly, they can create a workplace environment that is based upon high levels of trust between employees and coworkers, as well as employees and bosses. By prioritizing confidentiality, always being genuine and avoiding favoritism, employees will be able to see that HR is on their side.
When employees can see that Human Resources exists to support them, ensure that they are comfortable in their work environment and encourage them to do their best work, they’re more likely to be more trusting. If they are fair and honest, Human Resources has the transformative power to make an incredibly positive change in the workplace.
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