Posted by: healingtheworkplace | July 20, 2008

Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace

At least one quarter of all people visiting this blog have clicked on the post Building Trust in the Workplace.  I suppose that this shouldn’t surprise me given that this blog is called healing the workplace.

Trust is a core value for most of us and the opposite of trust is betrayal. So…when trust is broken in organizations…employees feel betrayed.

It can take a VERY long time to rebuild this trust once it is broken.  

Trust can’t be negotiated or bought…it has to be earned.

Trust is an essential human value. Psychologists claim that trust in one’s self and other people is so important to human relationships that it influences everything a person thinks, feels, says and does.

Trust flows from the top of organizations. If management is unpredictable, unfair, reactive or otherwise lacking in integrity, employees will not trust what is said to them…and will behave accordingly.

Julie Miller and Brian Bedford write…

Public confidence in the business world has rarely been lower. The impact of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, plus senior leaders who feathered their own nests at the expense of customers, employees and stockholders, have created a deep and widespread suspicion of companies and their leadership.

Large and small businesses should ask themselves, “What can we do to regain the trust and confidence of the people we need the most: the customers, the employees, and the stockholders?”

One answer lies in a return to strong core values.

Core values are beliefs and codes of conduct that identify what an organization holds to be important!

Many organizations believe that they can get people to “buy into” their stated core values.

According to Jim Collins this just isn’t so…and he writes, “you cannot install new core values into people”.

Collins suggests that once an organization has identified its core values then the next task is to FIND people who are already predisposed to sharing those values.

This is were recruitment and retention come into play. As an employer, you must first attract and then retain people who believe strongly in the same values that you do.

How to do this?

You might take a look at what Starbucks is doing to recruit and retain employees. A few years ago I stopped into a local Starbucks for my soy latte and picked up one of their many brochures.

This brochure was entitled Living Our Values: Starbucks Commitment to Social Responsibility.

Inside the pamplet was the following Mission Statement and Guiding Principles:

  • Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.
  • Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now, Starbucks has identified some core values and embedded others into the principles that make up their mission statement. Some organizations choose to highlight their core values separately.

I’m not sure how well Starbucks is doing as far as staff satisfaction and staff retention BUT they do survey their employees on a regular basis and conduct an annual “Corporate Social Responsibility Audit”.

AND, despite having to close 600 stores in the USA recently, they still have a strong, loyal following throughout the world.

Anyway, enough of this rambling. It is a FABULOUS July evening and I’m going to go outside and water my plants.




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