High Employee Trust - If You Build It They Will Come - and Stay

High Employee Trust – If You Build It They Will Come – and Stay

Companies with high employee trust do better, at just about everything. Find out what benefits come with high employee trust and how you can get them for your organization.

High employee turnover and difficulty recruiting top candidates might point to more than a hot job market. It might indicate the need to assess your company’s employee culture as much as your overall compensation structure or hiring process to find out whether improvements needs to be made. In particular, we came across a study in Harvard Business Review that calls out the benefits enjoyed by organizations with high levels of employee trust. And they are significant.

  • 74% less stress
  • 106% more energy at work
  • 50% higher employee productivity
  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 76% more employee engagement
  • 29% more personally satisfied with their lives
  • 40% less burnout

These numbers – especially employee engagement and personal satisfaction – also contribute to higher employee retention. Especially for employees who may have previously worked in less-satisfying environments.

You might also like: 5 Places Organizational Culture Shows Up

High Employee Trust – If You Build It, They Will Come:

1. To Work More Often

The Workforce Institute at Kronos report titled, Absenteeism – The Bottom Line Killer reports that unscheduled absenteeism costs U.S. employers an average of $3600 per hourly employee, per year. The unscheduled absenteeism rate in the U.S. hourly employee workforce is 9 percent, which  means that nearly 1 in ten hourly workers is absent from work due to illness, workers compensation or some other unscheduled reason on any given day.

Companies with high absenteeism also have a significantly higher rate of employee turnover, 10.6 percent compared to just 7.8 percent in organizations with low absenteeism. For companies that need to staff positions every day, this can produce several negative impacts:

  • increase to payroll costs
  • decreased productivity
  • increased training time and costs (for replacement workers)
  • increased stress on co-workers who have to pick up the slack

Workers in high employee trust organizations take 13 percent fewer sick days. A high employee trust environment reduces employee stress and burnout and increases worker’s energy levels.

Increased employee trust can even come directly from how employers handle employee sick days. For instance, if a company requires a doctor’s note or acts suspiciously when employees request time off, how does that impact employee trust?

Two major contributors to high employee trust and reduced absenteeism include:

  • health and wellness programs – not only can participants improve health, all workers in the company may benefit because they perceive the employer cares about them personally
  • increased participation in decision making – employees who contribute to organization-level decisions are more engaged and experience less absenteeism (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health)

2. To Work More Energized

Waaaaaaaaay more energized. When employees come to work 106 percent more energized than their counterparts at companies with low employee trust, the effects show up in productivity (50 percent more productive) and employee engagement, big time.

3.To Work More Engaged

Employees who trust their employers, managers and co-workers are 76 percent more engaged than people who work in low-employee trust organizations. We’ve talked before about some of the benefits that come along with increased employee engagement.

At the end of this article, you’ll find an employee engagement infographic from OfficeVibe.com that shows how high employee trust contributes to engagement and retention, particularly as it relates to the employee’s perception of how much their employer cares and their level of trust in management:

  • 51% of workers are looking to leave their current company
  • 60% of workers would like to be praised more frequently (they want to know whether they are doing a good job!)
  • 42% of employees say their leaders are not contributing to positive company culture
  • 70% of workers want to spend more time with their manager

4. To Work More Focused

In organizations with high employee trust, workers are 74 percent less stressed and experience 40 percent less burnout. Not only does this keep them on the job and reduce absenteeism, it also contributes to the extent to which they feel satisfied with their current job and company.

So How Do You Build High Employee Trust?

Another Harvard Business Review article sheds light on the characteristics of work places likely to produce high employee trust:

  • Personal – not just professional – connections exist between managers and employees
  • All company leaders are transparent and truthful, rumors aren’t left to fester
  • Employees feel encouraged, not ordered, and they understand management’s expectations and how their role impacts the company’s (and team’s) ability to succeed
  • Leaders are willing to absorb the blame and freely (and frequently) give the credit to employees
  • Leaders don’t play favorites
  • Managers at every level are competent

All of these traits depend on the behavior of company leaders and managers. No company can increase employee trust by paying lip-service to these characteristics. They have to be authentically true in an organization in order to produce desired results. Policy changes alone will not overcome low employee trust. If low levels of trust are negatively impacting your company’s ability to recruit and retain great employees, it’s likely that leadership will need to evolve – or change – first.


OfficeVibe.com – Top 10 Employee Engagement Stats of 2017

Infographic - High Employee Trust Leads to High Employee Engagement

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