While focussing on employees is important in the context of this discussion, it is not just them but the entire stakeholder universe which needs to be considered.
By Yashraj Bhardwaj
Trust begets trust; an adage that is omni contextual, but barely practiced. This is true for almost every facet of life. However, when it comes to organisations, it becomes a subject that needs serious attention and pondering across all levels. One of the most important factors that defines the long term success of any organisation is its people.
Healthy and productive employee engagement is a must. The single most important factor that helps in it is the trust placed on employees across the organisation. It is imperative to show trust in order to be trusted. Lack of trust between hierarchies can be detrimental to any organisation. Employees who feel that they are trusted by their superiors are usually high on confidence at the workplace. This obviously leads to higher productivity and enhanced effort.
Trust is always a two-way street. While managers need to go all out to gain the trust of their subordinates, they also need to trust them in equal measure. What is important here is for each one to define trust from the perspective of the person in front and not from their own point of view.
While focussing on employees is important in the context of this discussion, it is not just them but the entire stakeholder universe which needs to be considered. An organisation needs to build trust with all its stakeholders. This is true for both the revenue as well as the cost side. From vendors to dealers and in some cases even the customer servicing associates, it is important that an organisation builds an environment of mutual trust.
The trust that we build among all our stakeholders plays a lead role in managing difficult times. There is no better proof of this in history than the last couple of years. The lockdown that was imposed across the globe brought businesses down like never before. This is exactly when trust that organisations had built with their various stakeholders came to their defence. From deferred payment schedules to cut in compensations, it was the trust organisations had built that helped them in stakeholders; whether employees or vendors believing in them.
While trust is an absolutely important factor, another major aspect that needs to be taken care of is an environment devoid of fear. In fact, this takes precedence and is instrumental in building trust within and outside an organisation.
Sharing information and communicating honestly and openly, promote transparency and therefore, trust. But this information sharing and honest communication cannot happen without a fear free environment. The fear of reprimand or ridicule can kill employee morale. On the other hand for external stakeholders the fear of backing out of commitments can be counterproductive for any organisation.
It is important for every organisation to invest adequately – time as well as resources to ensure a fear free work environment as well as to build trust with all its stakeholders. Trustworthiness is necessary at work. It not only affects internal dynamics but also individual effectiveness and productivity.
(The author is Partner, Petonic Infotech. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)