Recently, a survey from Argyle and Leger noted just 68% of employees claim their employer “is concerned about people like me.” And a significant percentage of U.S. employees believe their employers care more about their customers than their employees.
In a tight and ever-changing employment market, it is more imperative than ever to maintain trust between employers and employees. But such an idea appears abstract, and because every organization, leadership style – and employee – is different, there isn’t always a clear path to achieving this goal. The results of the survey are clear: the antidote can be found in servant leadership and a clear demonstration of care for your employees as individuals.
There are concrete, often simple actions any leadership team can take to build trust with employees. To use these tools, however, it is critical that leadership teams be authentic in their intentions. Put simply, none of the actions below will have their desired effect without sincerity and earnestness.
-Check in with your employees about their workload and comfort level. “Are things moving too quickly?” “Are you experiencing burnout?” Ask about their comfort level in handling situations you placed them in. By inquiring about such matters, you both acknowledge the stress that work can bring and demonstrate your concern for your employee’s state of mind.
-Check in with your employees on a personal level. A mere, “how’s it going?” or “how are things?” will likely spark a conversation that deepens the relationship between employer and employee. Such a connection will build a foundation for greater trust.
-Even the smallest job matters. In other words, don’t distance yourself from seemingly procedural work too much. Involve yourself, preferably by engaging with that work directly. Everyone wants to have that brilliant, high-level strategy conversation, but procedural, possibly mundane work makes the world go round…and your employees are doing it!
-Recognize your employees’ hard work in real time. Recognition and gratitude are excellent motivators, but not at times where a thank you might be expected or polite. A little goes a long way, and employees will appreciate such genuine gratitude when displayed in real time.
-Make sure fun is still top-of-mind for your employees. Improving the quality of your employee’s day, week, or month with a fun activity will allow employees to view you through a more holistic lens. Numerous fun experiences will create memories that deepen the employer-employee relationship, and, in turn, the trust between the two.
Employer-employee relations are critical in a time of major uncertainty for both groups. The Argyle and Leger survey demonstrated 32% of U.S. respondents felt ambiguous about whether their employer is “concerned about someone like [them].” Employers must aim, through concrete action, to prove the opposite is true. The increased motivation and higher performance that result will prove such action as a worthy endeavor.