Trust in the workplace plays a crucial role in building a strong relationship between an employer and his employee. Trust forms the basis for employee loyalty and productivity.
If you, as an employer, show that you trust the skills of your teams, they in turn feel valued. This helps maintain the motivation to excel and the morale to keep it going.
Trust plays an even bigger role in managing and collaborating with remote teams. The traditional way of working together in physical offices has certain practices that don’t translate well when dealing with remote teams.
One of the first and pretty obvious questions any management team asks itself is whether they can trust their employees to get their jobs done and responsible for their jobs in a remote setting. And employees are probably thinking about how to show that they get things done.
Trust, as they say, is a one-way street. Employers need to be confident that they have hired intelligent talent who will be responsible and able to take responsibility for their jobs. Employees need to maintain the trust placed in them by being accountable and making sure they are maintaining their productivity.
Given that trust is a key element in building great remote teams, here are some ways you can build trust as an organizational mechanism – and use it to grow your business.
Let the past guide the future
Aside from sounding like a clichéd line from a movie, it means using your employees’ past performance as a measure of how they performed in a remote environment. There is no reason to believe that someone who is doing their job and getting results consistently will suddenly give up when switched remotely.
Remember, working remotely is just a change in the work environment, not the attitudes or skills of your teams. Take the time to understand each team and team member’s contribution and how they have fared so far. If you think there are some that you cannot fully trust yet, find out what your specific concerns are and work with them to address those concerns. Just doing this will automatically create a stepping stone to trust.
Otherwise, you would no longer have to micromanage your employees because there is a lack of trust. And we all know by now that this is of no use to anyone.
Trust is a journey, not a destination
Building trust with your employees starts from day one. When you have a new job, especially in a remote setting, every employee gets a little nervous.
Make sure you are warmly welcomed. Walking them through the various processes and protocols that are followed across the company is a good place to start. Let them know what you want them to do and what framework you can give them to meet those set expectations week after week, month after month.
Answer questions from your new employees. Assure them that they will receive the appropriate answer to any questions or concerns they may have. This will help them build trust in the leadership and be aware that they can look up to them for advice if necessary.
If there is cause for concern, don’t blame the employee or team. Instead, talk to them about it individually and find out what is causing it. Always give them the opportunity to correct and correct mistakes. This shows that you are ready to look beyond a temporary transgression and trust that you will recover from it.
Trust needs to be repeatedly shown by both the employer and the employee. It’s not something that you can just set and forget once. You need to regularly reassure your teams that you trust them to get their job done and give them enough leash to do it. In turn, by trusting them, you ensure that trust is not misdirected and you do your best.
Transparency is good for business
There is no better way to build trust than to be transparent about everything. And that from above and up to all of your employees. Managers should lead by example, and this transparency must be a top priority.
Make sure all of your employees stay up to date by giving them easy access to information about the teams and the company. Things like assigned tasks, their status, and work progress should be fully available to every member of the team.
Full transparency may sound counter-intuitive, but it can become one of your most important ways to build the trust factor in your remote teams. This also ensures that all of your teams and employees have clarity and are aligned with the company’s vision, goals and guidelines.
It is important that no teammate feels left out and that conversations are held behind closed doors. Or that they are excluded from something. When it comes to the team and their work, the discussion must take place on the public, not the private, channel. And if possible and appropriate, invite all members of the team to come up with ideas and solutions to problems that another teammate may be facing. This will open the gates for cross-collaboration even further.
The feedback should be geared towards making them better
Not only is feedback an important part of building and maintaining trust, it is also an organizational practice used to improve efficiency. When feedback is done correctly, employees can better understand where they are doing well and what areas to focus on for improvement.
However, it is important that the goal of the feedback is to show your employees the path to improvement. It shouldn’t be practice just pointing out what you’re doing wrong. That will result in them becoming demotivated and losing morale, which is what you don’t want, especially in a remote work environment.
If you wait until there is an actual problem to provide feedback, you are already too late. Build a process and a habit of regularly providing constructive feedback on your team members’ strengths areas, their accomplishments (both core and fringe), and performance. If you reinforce them, they can trust you as a leader more and show that you are right when you trust them.
However, this does not mean that you are not pointing out areas where they can be improved. The goal is to do this in such a way that the employee does not feel attacked or targeted. Show that you know their individual talents, that you have noted their contributions, and are ready to help in any way you can. Directly indicate that you want them to grow and be successful in their roles. You will definitely build lasting trust by doing this.
A well-designed performance feedback process must also reduce wear and tear. They are more loyal to you because you have made explicit expressions that you trust them and shown them a way to excel in their work.
Trust is the only way to build successful and efficient remote teams. Trust enables your employees to accelerate their growth. This would also pave the way for their upward mobility within the organization. When you show confidence, your remote workers can be assured that they can shape their careers under your leadership and within your company.