“How can we improve productivity?” This question is a popular one in today’s business climate. It is likely asked by many entrepreneurs, CEOs, and thought leaders. In turn, productivity is the buzzword of the hour, and everyone is trying to figure out how to make high performance and productivity a permanent part of their business development.
Well, we are here to tell you that low productivity is a symptom of a larger problem. Striving to get better numbers, increase output, and higher performance is not really about productivity at all. This statement is what this series is all about.
For the next five articles—including this one—we will dive deeper into the concepts surrounding productivity, and how improving it will depend on how well you address these more advanced issues at your workplace.
Ultimately, this series is about the necessary soft skills needed to motivate your team to improve productivity in the workplace. In the first of five articles, we will cover one of the most important aspects of any productivity improvement strategy: building trust in the workplace.
The “Trust” Issue
Do you trust your coworkers? Do you trust your superiors? For many of you, this is probably a tough question to answer. Many factors make addressing this question challenging. However, increasing trust should be at the core of any productivity strategy.
Workers cannot perform if they don’t trust their teammates or superiors. Unfortunately, building trust and respect in the workplace is a significant problem in today’s modern workplace. Fifty-five percent of business leader respondents to a PwC survey believed that a lack of trust was a foundational threat to their company.
The importance of trust in the workplace cannot be understated. You cannot collaborate, manage projects, or communicate with individuals you don’t trust. Trust gives you the confidence to delegate, depend on others, and work together to reach a goal, three things that are pivotal to improving productivity in the workplace. So, how do we fix this?
Five Strategies for Fixing Your Workplace’s Trust Issue
As the saying says, “no man is an island,” and today’s worker has to develop trust with their colleagues to invite them onto that island. Below are five tips that can help you build trust and respect in the workplace.
Make Trustworthiness a Quality you Look for During the Hiring Process
It may be tempting to only look at the hard skills that are required for a job. For example, if you are hiring a software developer, you probably want them to have experience in working with various programming languages as well as project management skills. However, don’t just hire for hard skills. Look for individuals who have good personalities, have demonstrated teamwork, and have a passion for your mission. These people will have the capability of socializing with others, which will make building trust in the workplace much more straightforward. For this tactic, be sure to check references to see how these individuals worked with others in the past.
Include Trust as a Company Principle
Your employees won’t understand the importance of trust in the workplace if they don’t see you making it a priority. Trust should be included as a foundational company principle. Discuss it in the employee handbook, mention it during team meetings, and provide examples of what this looks like during the day-to-day activities of your company. Ensure that trust-building is something everyone strives to accomplish. Also, ensure that senior leadership shows that they trust employees. This scenario could be allowing exceptional employees to take the lead on projects, or allowing all staff to offer suggestions and feedback that the company listens to and takes seriously.
Encourage “Moments of Trust”
Create opportunities for staff to work with one another and depend on each other. For example, let’s say that you are experiencing an issue with getting help desk tickets solved in a reasonable time. Set aside some time for brainstorming, and have the teams involved in this process communicate and come together to develop a solution. This situation allows coworkers to lean on each other and walk through the development of a solution together.
Pick the Right Tools
You can have the best plans, but you need the right tool to facilitate them. The best tool for your company can help employees monitor the progress of team members and more easily participate in projects. Tools like flujo can make the facilitation of trust streamlined. For example, let’s say that you have no idea who is handling various components of the company’s latest project. Things are getting done, but you have no idea of how long it is taking or how aspects of the project are being managed. A situation like this would immediately bring on feelings of distrust and stress. A tool with task delegation and to-do list features would make it much easier to monitor progress and increase the trust you have in the work your team is doing.
Promote Transparency and a Culture of Feedback
Everyone wants to be heard. All employees want to know that what they feel matters. One of the best ways to promote trust in the workplace is by fostering a culture of transparency and feedback. Consider an “open-door policy” that allows workers to feel welcome in discussing situations or suggestions with senior-leaders. This situation could occur by using anonymous pulse surveys or small focus groups. Employees shouldn’t fear any consequences for offering their insights on how things can run more smoothly. Allowing them to share ideas is paramount for building trust and respect in the workplace.
Building Workplace Trust Doesn’t Have to Be a Roadblock for Your Company
Trust can increase engagement, decrease stress, and increase work satisfaction. All of these principles contribute to higher output and productivity. Again, while you need to start with developing the right strategies, tools like flujo can help you to facilitate workplace trust and promote transparency.