5 Communications Tips to Build Trust with Workers


5 Communications Tips to Build Trust with Workers - Ragan


Be honest—especially when the news is bad. Encourage employees to ask tough questions, and clearly convey top leaders’ vision for the future.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, CEO, Tribe

Trust is not about guaranteeing employees that nothing bad will ever happen.

If building trust requires a guarantee of anything, it’s that the company will tell employees what’s really going on—even if it’s bad news.

Employees are smart enough to realize that no company can promise lifetime employment anymore. Most employees don’t even want lifetime employment. They want interesting, challenging, meaningful work.

Workers today start a job with the expectation that eventually they’ll move on to another company. Your staffers are not naïve. Honesty, then, becomes the primary pillar of trust.

Employees feel trust in their company—and thus do their best work and are most engaged—when they believe managers are being honest with them. So how does a company do that?

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1. Tell employees about any significant changes in the company. Tell them quickly—before the rumor mill (or news media outlets) can get a jump on you. Some CEOs and other leaders delude themselves that if they don’t say anything, employees won’t notice that anything is going on. Some are just afraid of having tough conversations. Either way, not being upfront with workers is tantamount to a slap in the face—not to mention the fastest way to erode trust.

Employees know when something is up. In the absence of management communication, they’ll uncover information wherever they can get it—or concoct their own theories.

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