Trust: Why It Matters and How Tech Can Help

Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored guest blog post. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from.  I am not formally employed by Ultimate Software. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by Adam Rogers of Ultimate Software. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Many Americans spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their families, so it’s not surprising that the strength of these relationships is important to job satisfaction. Trust, respect, and communication are vital aspects of a positive employee experience, but far too often, these critical factors are ignored or largely overlooked by organizations—perhaps partly due to the innate difficulty of tracking these metrics.

 

And how important is that trust, really?

 

Can I Trust You?

According to recent research, extremely. 9 out of 10 employees think trusting their direct managers is important to remaining satisfied at work, but less than half of employees actually do. An April SHRM study learned that respondents were not content with workplace trust levels, even when reporting high job satisfaction. And Rapt Media found more than a third of US employees feel like their companies don’t care about them at all—likely contributing to the 69% of respondents who said they’re either open to other opportunities or already seeking another job.

 

These statistics are concerning, raising red flags about productivity, retention, and everything in-between. Two-way trust is a crucial aspect of a stable, satisfying and successful work environment, but establishing and nurturing this within an organization can be difficult. Trust is certainly multi-faceted, at work as in life, but experts agree that communication is required, including transparency and responding to feedback. When implemented correctly, these communications tenets are valuable strategies.

 

In fact, 75% of workers said they would stay in an organization longer if their employer listened to—and addressed—their concerns. Can you imagine the financial impact of a 75% reduction in attrition?

 

Leveraging Technology to Cultivate Trust

To build a high-performing culture based on trust and communication, employers must effectively uncover their employees’ true feelings and respond appropriately. Many organizations currently rely on annual performance reviews, which can be quite valuable for assessing employee performance against pre-determined goals and objectives. But when it comes to obtaining quality feedback and insight into the employee experience, these infrequent evaluations almost always fall short.

 

Fortunately, technology has caught up with this significant need. Basic online templates evolved to sophisticated pulse surveys that can measure employee experience in real-time. In addition to yes/no queries and other quantitative tools, these innovative solutions can also decode open-ended surveys with exceptional accuracy. UltiPro Perception™, for example, uses advanced natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms to analyze text-based responses and identify key workplace themes, like trust, as well as the respondent’s underlying emotions.

 

This highly strategic tool can be effortlessly deployed at regular intervals to assess employee sentiment, either for the entire organization or filtered by location, position, manager, etc. Patterns emerge and business leaders receive real-time, actionable analysis and instant insights to improve trust, satisfaction, and retention within the organization.

 

These surveys allow leaders to measure how their employees feel about the hot-button topics frequently blamed for job dissatisfaction, such as family-friendly policies, growth opportunities, or job flexibility. Armed with data-based feedback about what matters most to their employees, executives have real power to evaluate and address pain points—building trust simultaneously.

 

For 46% of organizations surveyed in SHRM/Globoforce’s 2016 survey, employee retention was the #1 workforce management challenge. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By actively listening and responding to employees, it’s possible for organizations to solidify a culture of trust and communication—improving engagement, productivity, and retention in return.

 

What Do You Know About Me?

Image courtesy of deviantart.net

Once upon a time, I started a position somewhere (they shall remain nameless) where the grass seemed to be greener than my last pasture. I had a great boss, supportive and competent co-workers and challenging work- what more could one want?

It appeared throughout the interview process that this company was very concerned with attracting a competent HR professional that could help them ignite a more progressive HR delegation. I assured them that I was their woman wooing them with my credentials, education, past projects, notable employers and enthusiasm for the discipline of HR.

So said, so done…

I came on the scene and started effecting change quite immediately- to my then bosses’ delight.  The problem was my co-workers weren’t  delighted. You see at the same time that I was wowing my boss, the love and courtesy from my co-workers started to wane. Suddenly, the “good mornings” stopped, invites to lunch ceased and I was conspiring to take their jobs or so they thought.

What did they do next?

Daily, they would whisper and gossip about the many ways they could undermine my prowess and I knew it. What I did was return the favor, by not saying “good morning” or even looking their way. I just kept my head down and did the work. Before you get all mighty on me, it was fair treatment. I had just come out of a toxic environment that took everything from me and almost my health. I had no more tolerance for petty office shenanigans (insert the expletive of your choice for good measure).

In any event, their conspiring led them to my boss one day to complain about my lack of “good mornings” and reluctance to be “more social”. In turn, my boss called a meeting with me to ask me the following:

He said: “Janine, could you just be the bigger person and try a little harder- like be their friend.” To which I responded with a synopsis of my daily dealings with them. They wanted to dig into my personal life, meet for breakfast with spouses after church on Sunday; oh and I was to report to them the where, what, when and why- anytime I met with the Director of HR on a new project.

His answer…

“I didn’t know all of this was going on, but could you just try a little harder- you’re stronger than them.” Keep in mind that, I was working for this company for maybe six months at this time.

What did they know about me?

That is the problem and the question. They knew nothing about me, my likes or dislikes, my work habits or my boundaries. All too often, we make judgments about the new guy or gal on the job based upon our own insecurities and biases. In this instance, these two were essentially uncomfortable because I was quickly productive and my ideas were welcomed. They had spent years doing mediocre work and I was shaking things up. Nevermind, that one of them hired me and gushed about the company and their need for a progressive person. That went out the window the day they realized I was a serious professional that got sh%t done.

Here’s why these situations are problematic for Talent Acquisition:

1) I was the new person. Instead of being supported, I was being bullied into being more social than I was ready to be at that time. I was told during the hiring process they wanted “productive and progressive” and that’s what I was doing.

2) The onus was placed on me to rectify a situation that my boss should have been able to handle quite decisively.

3) I could have quit and they would have been left wondering why. Toxic environments create turnover.

I didn’t quit, because I wasn’t about to let two bad apples ruin what was a dream opportunity.

As talent acquisition professionals, we need to remain cognizant of the fact that first impressions not only extend to how candidates impress us, but how we impress them. We can’t advocate for competencies and skills in the hiring process but then try to deter the person when they come barreling out of the gate providing the very same acumen you recruited for. Furthermore, you better be sure that you keep a close watch on those in a position to hire, on-board and mentor new employees. There is nothing more costly and embarrassing than to someday find out that your turnover is high and moreover, that it is high because someone in your organization is undermining your otherwise benevolent efforts to retain employees.

Some level of foolery exists in most organizations, but be sure your leaders are prepared to act swiftly, decisively, and consistently to prevent occurrences like these.

In the end, one of the co-conspirators left the company. The remaining one and I established an amicable work relationship.

Need to get your talent acquisition team refocused. Contact me for a free consultation.

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