Diversity & Inclusion Starts with Building Trust

Building trust is essential in fostering an engaging and inclusive workplace. Trust facilitates a work environment where people are not afraid to express their ideas or concerns. It allows leaders to have candid conversations about racism, discrimination and other critical workplace issues without creating angst. And according to Forbes, it leads to better employee performance.

Earning employee trust is a 24/7 job. It takes time to build, must be reinforced daily through thoughtful words and consistent actions and can be quickly lost.  What can leaders do to earn their employee’s trust? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Keep promises – walk the talk
  • Be ethical, fair and equitable
  • Give credit where credit is due  
  • Communicate openly and honestly 
  • Take a genuine interest in your employees 
  • Have the courage to do the right thing – always 

It sounds simple but situations and circumstances constantly arise that will test a leader’s resolve in these areas. Most leaders don’t intend to break promises or be unfair but can easily find themselves in a bad spot by engaging in destructive behaviors such as playing favorites, letting politics or bias drive decision-making or not communicating often enough thus allowing the grapevine to become an employee’s primary source of information. 

Numerous surveys and studies indicate that employee trust in leadership hovers around 50%. Results from company employee engagement surveys point to the same. Building and maintaining trust is critical in fostering a work environment where every employee feels respected, valued and heard. Through their words or actions, leaders make choices everyday that either strengthens trust or destroys it.  My advice to leaders . . . choose wisely.

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