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Building Trust in an Organization

An interesting article from HBR that showed up on my timeline today that I thought was worth sharing: The Nueroscience of Trust. A few interesting quotes: "It’s clear that creating an employee-centric culture can be good for business. But how do you do that effectively? Culture is typically designed in an ad hoc way around random perks like gourmet meals or “karaoke Fridays,” often in thrall to some psychological fad. And despite the evidence that you can’t buy higher job satisfaction, organizations still use golden handcuffs to keep good employees in place. While such efforts might boost workplace happiness in the short term, they fail to have any lasting effect on talent retention or performance. "In my research I’ve found that building a culture of trust is what makes a meaningful difference. Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance. ... "Through the experiments and the surveys, I identified eight management behaviors that foster trust. These behaviors are measurable and can be managed to improve performance." He goes on to highlight the following:

  1. Recognize Excellence. Neuroscience shows that recognition after a goal is met establishes pathways of trust between employees and mangers.

  2. Inducing "Challenge Stress." Tasks at work should be moderately stressful. Not enough to cause problems but hard enough that the reward is worth the pain.

  3. Providing Direction. Once trained, allow employees to execute projects in their own way. Employees were found to forego a 20% for greater control of their work.

  4. Enable Job Crafting. Allow employees to choose what projects they want to work on. This has to be done with 360-reviews and clear expectations.

  5. Share Information Broadly. Only 40% of employees report that they are well informed about the company's direction. This uncertainty leads to chronic stress which inhibits oxytocin levels and undermines teamwork.

  6. Intentionally Build Relationships. Managers who express interest in and concern for their team members outperform in quality and quantity of work. Help build social connections with lunches, parties or other activities.

  7. Facilitate Whole-Person Growth. High-trust companies adopt a growth mindset. Some companies even encourage managers to ask, "Am I helping you get your next job?"

  8. Show Vulnerability. Asking for help instead of just telling teams what to do, stimulates oxytocin and increases trust and cooperation in teams.

And one last interesting quote:

"But one new - and surprising - thing we learned is that high-trust companies pay more. Employees earn an additional $6,450 a year, or 17% more, at companies quartile of trust, compared with those in the lowest quartile. The only way this can occur in a competitive labor market is if employees in high-trust companies are more productive and innovative."

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