13 May 4 reasons why workplace culture is more than a buzzword — #3: Trust
by Joe Carr
In the previous post in this series, we discussed the need for flexibility to create a great company culture. Flexibility, however, is pointless without one other crucial facet: trust. Trust is huge, not just on the part of the employer, but also on the employees. Additionally, once trust from the employer and the employee is in place, trust among collaborating co-workers can thrive.
Trust in the employer
Perhaps the antithesis of trust is micro-management—one of the key buzzwords that fly around a lot in the hiring and recruiting environment. Micromanagement can lead to extreme employee disengagement and absenteeism—in other words, an expensive $600,000 annual penalty for not fostering a healthy, trusting workplace. So, if you are going to provide a flexible working environment for your employees, you have to then allow them a long enough leash to prove it can be a success.
This is a lot more difficult than you would think it is, and it takes strong leadership to make it work. A large number of those in positions of power assume that those in their care work for them when, in reality, they work for those they manage. We have to provide all the tools to succeed and be hyper-aware of approaching problems with an “It’s just quicker if I do it myself” attitude. Unfortunately, no one will ever learn and grow in an environment like that. Too many managers fall into this self-serving bracket, and it means that excelling employees are seen as a threat—not an asset.
Luckily, here at Simplus our leadership team is incredible. I am always blown away by the individuals responsible for the growth of our people. Rather than key leaders handling every problem on their own, every employee is left well alone and on a long leash to help solve those very same high-stake problems. We are given enough trust to produce and accomplish great work, so as long as expectations are met there is little to worry about.
Using myself as an example, when our COO asked me what I needed in a recent career one-to-one, I replied that I just wanted to be left alone and I will produce what is required of me because it’s my job. The main focus of my job is to make sure Simplus as a company grows. When I understand that goal and feel the duty on my shoulders, I can motivate myself to work from home with little hand holding or micro-managing because that’s how I like to work. Because of the exceptional trust given by employers, more quality work gets done, and more people grow in their careers.
Trust in the employee
However important it is to trust employees enough to give them their space, it’s also vital that employees, too, trust in their employers; that is, employees have to be able to trust in their executives, leaders, and managers that when help is needed, the help will be there. It works both ways, give and take. An employee must feel that their leadership team is approachable and eager to help when needed—this sort of trust in a professional relationship increases the likelihood of productivity by at least 5 percent above industry average.
Employees also need to trust themselves to get the work done and own the task of motivating themselves. It’s the things that will help with this, and it’s personal for each employee. For example, my non-negotiable for working at home is that I dress for work. Every morning I exercise so I’m in the right frame of mind, then I get a shower and put a crisp shirt on to sit in my spare bedroom/office. Everyone is different, but this is what has helped me. I could very easily lounge on my sofa for work, but I am also aware that it would inhibit me. I have to trust myself to take the steps necessary to do work the right way.
Trust in co-workers
Team collaboration plays a lot in both trust and flexibility. We are creatures that thrive in groups, and if we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, it helps. If I know that my direct manager trusts me and that my employees trust me in turn and so on, then we will all succeed. And, if we aren’t succeeding, we can talk openly and honestly about it because we’ve built up that trust. Your work can become a breeding ground of positivity and the fodder for maintaining trust.
This, in turn, creates momentum, and momentum is everything in high-growth businesses. It’s crucial that the cogs of the machine all move in such a way that the machine churns perfectly, day after day, which each cog holding complete trust in the others—no matter the size or relative importance of any one cog. And, if even one cog is out of place, such as a ‘micro-manager’ not allowing those in their care to thrive, it can have catastrophic effects on the machine as a whole.
Flexibility and trust go hand in hand when creating a company culture to be proud of, and there’s one final piece of the jigsaw I want to talk about in my final blog piece on company culture: the importance of specialization.
Joe is the Simplus Recruiting Director, covering global QTC recruitment for Simplus. He is responsible for all international hiring outside of North America. He is a champion of #LifeMadeSimplus.