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Trust is the new currency

Last week I was fortunate to be able to attend the HR Florida State Conference in beautiful Orlando, Florida (my home away from home). The conference was a first rate affair that was well organized and had a ton of fantastic concurrent sessions. My focus for the concurrent sessions was on those that focused on employee engagement, retention and overall organizational leadership. While many of these sessions covered a lot of the usual fare when it comes to attraction, retention and engagement – i.e. promoting your brand, providing developmental opportunities, etc. there was one prevailing theme that permeated throughout all of the sessions. That is, that the employment relationship is built (or broken) on one key element – TRUST.

Trust WordAt the end of the day, people want to work for managers and organizations that they trust. They want to know that the people that they report to can be trusted – trusted to provide feedback, trusted to be candid in performance discussions and trusted to keep their word and support the employee. In the same vein, employees need to trust the organization that they work for. That is, they need to trust that the company will be ethical and up front with its employees. They need to trust that companies will work diligently to balance employee needs with business needs to achieve the best possible outcomes. They need to trust that the senior leadership team is being up front in its communications and interactions with employees.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you pay your staff in the top percentile, have unlimited vacation, provide free lunches, have foosball games and ping pong tables, if you don’t have trust you won’t have staff. All those previously mentioned things are simply lipstick on a pig if there is no trust. Those things may get candidates in the door and may keep them for a short period of time; however, if they ultimately don’t trust their manager or organization they certainly won’t be engaged in their work and ultimately will not be retained.

So as leaders, managers and/or as HR Pros, we should be focusing on this area first – establishing trust with our staff. If we can get good at that, we will become good at engaging and retaining our employees. Let’s make sure we keep our word, are up front with staff, communicate, explain, provide feedback and establish accountabilities. Let’s agree that our employees are not disposable ‘assets’ on a balance sheet that can be moved around and/or discarded on a whim. Let’s accept that they are truly mobile assets and we need to earn their trust so that they stay and are productive for us. If we focus on those items, than we don’t need to focus as much on the latest employee survey tools or other “programs” meant to solve engagement and retention issues.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that trust is the new currency? How do you go about building up your trust bank account with your staff? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/Freedigitalphotos.net


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