The Trust Issue

Sooner or later, all businesses come to realize the importance of trust within the organization. Many organizations work hard to develop policies and practices to promote trust, but in the final analysis it is the behavior of individuals-particularly the leaders-that determines the level of trust in an organization.

A survey of trust in the workplace indicated that senior management had the biggest influence on "organizational trust". The same survey showed that senior management is the least-trusted group, when compared to first-level supervision and peers. Perhaps this is not surprising since many employees have little contact or familiarity with senior management. The survey also identified certain factors which contribute to trust within an organization. These include:

Consistent behavior
Dependability
Support for risk taking
Keeping direct reports' best interest in mind

It has been suggested that senior management pay particular attention to five critical areas that have a direct impact on the level of trust in an organization:

Vision employees want to know that the organization is headed in the right direction.
Values trust is enhanced when employees see management exhibiting and reinforcing the organization's values.
Work environment an environment which is free of harassment and discrimination.
Compensation this can be a volatile issue. Management must ensure that compensation in the organization is fair and consistent. This includes executive compensation.
Personnel decisions these management decisions are always closely scrutinized. To build trust, personnel selections should be based on factual, performance related factors.

Organizational trust is slowly earned, but can be quickly lost. Senior leaders should not assume that trust will exist because their intentions are good. Building trust within an organization requires dedication and commitment.

SESCO Management Consultants is available for assistance should you have questions about this issue. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .