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How to Build Trust and Prevent Attrition

An employer and their employee collaborate together at shared desk. They look over documents while drinking coffee and smiling.

Are you in touch with your employees? Statistically speaking, you probably think so—but your employees might not.

According to the results of the 2023 trust survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 79% of business executives say their employees trust the company, but only 65% of employees agree.

The vast majority of business leaders and talent concur that organizations have a responsibility to build trust, according to the PwC study. Despite this, there remains a disconnect between talent and the managers and executives of companies in terms of how they perceive their relationships. Understanding why and how to address this disconnect is essential for building a competitive, committed workforce.

Why Is Trust Important for a Team to Work Together?

You may be wondering why there is a disconnect between employers and employees. Why do leaders and employees have such different views on the trustworthiness of their organizations? Or even, why is this an important issue in the first place?

Building a culture of trust within your organization is crucial for boosting engagement, performance, and, ultimately, profits.

Trust is also a fundamental factor in the success of distributed teams; it forms the foundation of a remote relationship. When you can’t see all your employees in person, you have to judge them purely on their output and through some level of asynchronous communication.

A remote worker logs in from a cafe, getting through her to-do list while enjoying her surroundingsThe inverse is also true; talent working remotely can’t see what their managers are doing in real-time and often have less incidental interactions with their superiors. Making yourself more accessible and visible to your remote team is essential in building trust and ensuring the success of your culture and company goals.

Reasons Why Employees Don’t Trust Their Employers

Losing someone’s trust damages your relationship with that person, which can take years to repair—if repair is possible at all. The same can be said of the relationships between employers and employees.

According to the PwC trust survey, the most common trust-damaging events that affect employees were situations involving bias or mistreatment in the workplace, which one-third of respondents said they had experienced. Over half (53%) said they left the company afterward.Most common trust-damaging events that affect employees are bias and mistreatment in the workplace Recognizing and getting ahead of such events—or stopping them from happening at all—is far easier than figuring out how to rebuild trust with employees and an important part of preventing talent attrition.

When talent doesn’t feel like they can trust their employers, it’s often due to a variety of factors.

Poorly-Executed Company Restructuring

Consistent communication lays the groundwork for successful organizational restructuring and transformation. If you’re not transparent with your talent about what kinds of changes your company is going through and will likely undergo in the future, you can expect them to feel frustrated as they question the certainty of their future with your company, driving them to look for new opportunities with other organizations.

While restructuring is sometimes inevitable, clear communication about the reasons for change, the timeline for restructuring, and the possible impact on jobs can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty among employees, ultimately capitalizing on trust and retention.

Mistreatment of Individuals or Groups

Sixty-one percent of employees in the United States have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination in some form or another. Forty-two percent of U.S. workers say they have experienced sex or race-based discrimination in the workplace, and 45% say they have experienced discrimination based on their age at work. Furthermore, 82% of employers say their organization’s work culture is “open, inclusive, and supportive to all employees,” but only 61% of their talent feel the same way.

One group that often experiences mistreatment in the workplace is women. For example, while there are more women in the workforce than ever, fewer are working in tech. There is no single reason why this is, but female tech workers face a number of challenges in the workplace that others do not, including wage disparity and discrimination.

When mistreatment or discrimination occurs in the workplace, it can lead to the employee losing trust in the employer. It can also affect business. Did you know that diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders and 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready? Yet, some companies don’t do enough to earn the trust of the people that make their business more diverse, and it costs them talent as well as profits.

Lack of Transparency

If you don’t operate with transparency, you risk significant blowback from your employees. Transparency is important for attracting and retaining talent. According to PayScale, compensation policies lacking in transparency are more likely to cause talent—especially younger talent—to leave the organization within six months.

Furthermore, research shows that elements of transparency, such as pay transparency, have a direct, positive impact on performance and job satisfaction, as well as trust.

Besides pay and benefits equity, it’s also crucial to be transparent about how decisions are made at the top of your organization, including hiring decisions. This creates a more attractive hiring culture for talent.

How to Build Trust With Your Employees

1. Communication

Knowing how to build trust—or how to rebuild trust with your employees—starts with communication.

Set Clear Expectations

Agile businesses must embrace change, but if instructions and expectations are constantly changing without notice, talent will become confused, frustrated, and feel as though their contributions are not valued.

Set your teams up for success. Make sure expectations for your talent are clearly laid out and that those expectations are revisited if things change and you have to pivot.

Get Feedback

Listening to your employees is critical for understanding how they really feel about your company and its leadership. Anonymous surveys, questionnaires, and regular one-on-one check-ins are all effective tools that you should regularly utilize to foster discourse with your talent. Providing a consistent structure from which they can see where and how their feedback is used is also essential for transparency. This is especially true for remote global teams.

Schedule All-Hands Meetings

Ensure your team feels like they are an important part of your organization. Host company-wide meetings regularly so you can give your talent direct updates, and provide recordings of these meetings for those who can’t attend them. You might even want to consider setting up meetings to address questions posed by your employees about the company, specific initiatives, global economic events, or anything else they might want to ask about.

Of course, being completely transparent in these meetings is imperative if you want to build a culture of trust.

2. Values

Having a nominal set of values that your company stands for is one thing—living those values is another.

Knowing how to build a culture of trust means practicing what you preach because it can be hard or even impossible for talent to trust leadership when it feels like they play by their own rules. Ensure that your values are positive, constructive, and inclusive—and that everyone in your organization exemplifies them, no matter what their role is. When your organization shares a set of values, it instills a sense of connection among its members.

3. Flexibility

Nine out of 10 remote workers say they want to maintain working remotely to some degree. Offering your teams flexibility in when they work, where they work, and how they work shows that you trust them to do their jobs—even if you’re not all working at the same time or in the same place. Strict requirements about how and when a person should work can create a culture of rigidity and distrust.Working parents are able to take their children to their doctor during the day because they have flexible working schedules When talent feels trusted to work on their own terms and in their own natural rhythms, they’re also more likely to be engaged and productive.

4. Compensation and Benefits

Employers that know how to build a culture of trust understand their talent’s salary and benefits are more than just incentives; they’re a way to communicate value.

Benefits packages especially are key. If you give your talent the benefits they need, they won’t have to or want to look somewhere else to find it. If they can trust you to provide them with the benefits they deserve, you can trust them to stick around.

5. Recognition

Part of knowing how to build a culture of trust—and prevent attrition—is knowing how to make talent feel valued, respected, and empowered.An employee is being recognized for their contribution by their manager

Recognizing your talent’s hard work through awards and commendations goes a long way in earning their trust. It also helps foster a sense of connection to their team and company, as well as personal pride.

Let Your Talent Know You Have Their Back

Understanding why trust is important in an employee-and-employer relationship helps you build a strong, effective team, which means less time and resources spent figuring out how to rebuild trust with employees.

Building a culture of trust also makes a difference when it comes to preventing attrition. Managing employee trust and engagement requires consistent transparency, communication, support, and a commitment to fairness and equity—especially with remote global talent.

To learn more about how to attract and retain the best talent, check out our webinar, “Protect Your Talent Strategy: The Power of Benefits Equity During Economic Uncertainty.” 

Earn Your Talent’s Trust—Velocity Global Can Help

Velocity Global makes it easy for you to compliantly hire, pay, and support anyone, anywhere. Since 2014, we’ve helped over 1,000 brands grow their distributed workforce in more than 185 countries—and make sure their remote talent is supported no matter what time zone they reside in.

Contact us today to get the support you need to manage your workforce.

Offering remote work can lower a company's attrition rate by up to 35%