To answer that question, you need to ask yourself- do your employees even know you? Depending on the size of your company, it may be difficult to form a relationship with every single employee. But trust is built through connection – and that’s easier said than done. According to Forbes, 63% of employees don’t trust their leader. That could be more than half of your company!
A large part of that distrust comes from the unknown. Are you the elusive figure in the corner office? Would your employees recognize you in the hallway? Are you just a name on the monthly team email or do you mingle in the breakroom?
Nobody can build instant trust overnight. However, there are a few simple things you can do to start improving your relationship with your employees.
1. Be open and honest
If you model open communication, your employees will feel encouraged to do the same. Don’t let news trickle down from above- make sure that leaders, teams, and departments hear information from the source. There may be occasional information that you can’t share, but employees will appreciate your honesty in the matters that can be shared. Don’t forget that open communication can flow both ways- listen to your employees, and they will listen to you.
2. Have fun inside and outside the office
Make your employees want to come to work every day. All work and no play makes your office a very dull space. Plan some fun activities during work hours (themed meetings, potlucks, or a little friendly interdepartmental competition) to break up the work week. To go the extra mile, plan activities outside of work hours (bowling, after-work cocktails, coffee breaks, etc.) to show your employees that you’re invested in them as people.
3. Set expectations for your employees (and yourself)
Make sure your employees know what your company’s core values are and how they are expected to uphold them. Get your team together, brainstorm ways to maintain and practice these values, and highlight someone that exemplifies a particular value. Make sure you lead by example- show your workers how you uphold the values as well, in your business practices and your work ethic.
4. Keep a level playing field
Don’t forget to step outside your office once in a while. Your employees will be more motivated to work for a friendly and loyal leader than they will for a lofty superior. If there is an open desk, take your laptop and work amongst your employees for an afternoon. Join a meeting that you typically wouldn’t attend and praise the efforts. Hop on a customer call or sit with a new employee for an hour.
5. Admit wrongdoing
We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. If something should go wrong, own up to it. Explain the situation, accept responsibility, and address your plans for moving forward. Not only will your employees see you as a responsible leader, but they will know that it’s encouraged to learn and grow from mistakes.
The key to all of this? Be somebody that you want to work for.
Get to know your employees by scheduling a demo of Ohana today.