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How to restore employee trust after it’s been broken

Posted by Shivali Anand

September 13, 2021    |     3-minute read (512 words)

Nobody wants to be in a scenario where a breach of trust has harmed the work environment. But it happens in even the most well-run organizations.

Employees may develop a sense of distrust amid a lack of honesty or transparency. They may become cynical if no one listens to their concerns, they don’t receive feedback or the opportunity to learn new skills, a promise is broken or a variety of other scenarios. To see how a business can regain employee trust once it has been compromised, consider this five-step method.

  1. Recognize and identify the cause
Explain that you are taking proactive steps to identify the factors that contributed to your office's loss of confidence. It's critical to figure out what behavior or action caused the trust problem before trying to make amends. Listen with empathy and acknowledge the disappointment, anger or negative sentiments that come with a breach of trust.

  1. Develop confidence
Once you've identified the cause, begin making plans to restore trust and create a more positive culture. Develop a strategy for dealing with the problem and ensuring it does not happen again. This should include a list of actions you commit to following. Assure employees that the issue will be handled and how the organization's objectives will be achieved more effectively in the future.

  1. Establish a feedback loop
Employee engagement surveys, employee feedback, performance reviews and direct conversations with employees can help you figure out how employees prefer to communicate. Regardless of the organization's size or the nature of the difficulties, establishing two-way feedback is needed to develop trust with staff.

Apologies, reconciliation and an agreement to move on from the circumstance will help restore shattered trust among team members. Give and accept feedback — to avoid a stalemate, give each party enough time to present their point of view without interruption.

  1. Assist team members
Create an open-door policy where employees may come to you with their issues without fear of being judged or retaliated against. Empower them to take charge of their tasks and create proposals that they believe will improve the company. Use vivid and persuasive messaging to demonstrate to employees that management is working to establish a safe atmosphere.

  1. Take concrete steps
You can't be unclear about your future aspirations while you're striving to restore damaged trust. Add new values to your organization, such as transparency and integrity, to help minimize their feelings of doubt. Then share with your team why those values are essential, how they will be used to restore confidence and how they will be demonstrated in your workplace. You could also re-establish trust by using "restorative justice," which involves the group working together to determine the best course of action.

Meanwhile, work on restoring morale. This could include allowing employees to develop new skills and gain more autonomy. Assist management team in overcoming unconscious bias and making sure employees are fairly compensated. Consider creating opportunities for social connection and bonding outside the formal work setting. As you move ahead, remember to treat your employees with dignity and respect while maintaining a positive outlook.

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