Trust and Teamwork: Needed Now More Than Ever
When we think of the core values that matter in a workplace trust isn’t always top of the list, but teamwork often appears as one of the most significant for an organization to foster. The two are intrinsically linked however, teamwork can’t thrive without trust and a company without a solid team of employees can’t thrive at all. As an offset from COVID-19, there have been huge changes in every industry including a shift to working from home, strapped resources, either increased or decreased volume, and sometimes massive layoffs. We’re in a period of time that trust and teamwork is needed now more than ever.
According to Paul J.Zak the founding director of the Centre for Neuroeconomics Studies ‘people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 40% less burnout.’ He also found that employees in high trust organizations are more collaborative and stay with the company longer. They’re also generally happier and less stressed. All of these are factors that improve productivity and profit margins.
However, Edelman’s Trust Barometer found that 1 in 3 employees distrust their employer. Trust in organizations is higher amongst CEOs but decreases as it filters down the company levels and employees are more likely to trust their co-workers than C-level executives.
So, what constitutes a low-trust workplace? Normally the company culture is poor, employees experience higher levels of stress and there’s a general lack of teamwork, collaboration, and communication. Staff take less responsibility for their work and are less involved and motivated. Work relationships are poor, morale is low, and staff are indifferent. That doesn’t sound like somewhere anyone would willingly choose to work.
Without trust, the necessary foundations simply aren’t there to build on. Maybe the leaders of the company don’t model a culture of trust and teamwork which disseminates through the ranks. If your company has low levels of trust it can be restored but it takes a lot of work to do so.
So, with all of that in mind here are 6 active steps we can take to increase trust and teamwork.
Although it can be tempting to work in a bubble particularly with a heavy workload a Silicon Valley study of software engineers found that reaching out to other team members to offer a helping hand not only rewards the helper with more respect and trust but also increased their overall productivity. Especially while working remotely, just check in with one coworker to see how they’re doing. Collaboration is key!
A survey conducted by Citigroup and Linked in discovered that almost 50% of employees would give up a pay raise of 20% to have greater autonomy over their job. A study carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that when comparing 2 factories in Mexico the plant where the employees had more autonomy about how they planned their workload and weren’t held to a calculated speed of production was twice as productive and more cost-effective per unit produced. Trust your team to be the most informed about their jobs and they’ll feel empowered and valued. This also includes the shift from in-person to remote work. Yes, many companies are building ways to keep their employees on track. But there also must be a degree of trust that the work is happening. If goals are not being met, that’s where some evaluation may be required. In the meantime, trusting your people is beyond important.
Remember why you hired your team members in the first place. You knew that out of numerous skilled candidates they were the finest person for this specific job. Give them the opportunity to show how capable they are. Encourage team members to appreciate each other’s unique skills and strengths and utilize them.
Communication is Key
Relationship and employee morale thrive with trust. Create a safe environment where people can speak freely and share their ideas whilst feeling respected. Staff that communicate well also tend to share more ideas and give quality feedback leading to a more collaborative environment.
If managers can be transparent about their mistakes as well as their wins it creates a culture of transparency where employees feel safe to own their mistakes and request help when in need. If you can have faith in a manager not to judge you negatively for needing more guidance or direction it creates a culture where employees dare to fail. Only then can creativity truly flourish leading people to live to their full potential and be increasingly impactful at work.
It’s a cliché but a true one that trust games really do work. When we depend on our team members physically as well as mentally it creates a stronger lasting bond when we’re restored to the workplace and influences our future interactions. A trusting team is built on strong relationships so find ways to nurture that through team-building experiences. Something that has a small level of challenge will increase the bonding rate further. Can you commit to fundraising for a charity by taking on a group challenge for instance?
Remember that without trust a company can only build shakily on weak foundations. However, when trust is present in the workplace we can bond as a team, each freely contributing our own unique strengths and talents with no fear of repercussions. Trusted employees are capable, reliable, and happy employees.