Building Trust in the Workplace

In a work culture where one out of three people don’t trust their employers, it shows that trust is hard to build and easy to destroy. But what is trust, exactly?

Trust is the sense of security and confidence in dealing with others. When you trust someone, you know they will keep their word, have consistent behavior, and be dependable.

There are two different kinds of trust: practical and emotional. Practical trust is the trust earned when you work hard and meet deadlines. In other words, when you say you’ll do something, you’ll actually do it. Emotional trust requires emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand and use your emotions positively and constructively. You use emotional intelligence to create bonds, build relationships, and network with others.

Why is trust important?

Low trust, especially in an employer, leads to fracturing of the team. It leads to workers who do the bare minimum and quietly look for other places to work—and high turnover doesn’t allow a “trust culture” to thrive. Having your employees’ trust—and having your team trust each other—contributes to a culture of values and teamwork, increasing productivity. A study conducted in 2017 showed that people at companies with a trust culture experienced 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity, and 40% less burnout.

When people trust each other, they feel comfortable relying on one another and are motivated to work together.

How to build trust in the workplace

Think of trust like building a house. You need a solid foundation before putting up the walls. Trust isn’t built overnight; it’s built gradually, over time. Whether you already have a trust culture and are looking to improve it, or are looking for a fresh start, build trust being intentional with the following behaviors.

Setting expectations and communicating

For trust to work, everyone needs to be on the same page. Ensure you set expectations and communicate with your team whenever needed: company policy changes and project deadlines, for example. Things will run smoothly when everyone knows what to expect.

Being transparent and honest

It’s tempting when you make a mistake to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. But as awkward as it may be to tell the truth, being transparent and honest is a trust-building behavior. Let your team know if you missed a deadline on a project or accidentally sent a newsletter a week before it was set to go out, and let them know how you’ll do better next time. Being honest lets people know they’re important to you.

Offering support and acceptance

People need to feel like they can ask questions or share concerns without worrying about negative repercussions. Have an open-door policy, which creates a comfortable environment for employees to come to you and share feedback, challenges at work, or personal matters. And be careful to not dismiss their concerns when they do bring you something of importance to them. Listen and work with them to find a solution, whether offering to help on a project if they seem overwhelmed or helping to prioritize their to-do list.

Showing that you care and respect them makes people feel welcome and safe at work. This creates an environment that rewards honesty and peer support, reducing the opportunity for people to struggle in silence and increasing the chances that issues will be resolved before they grow to negatively impact the team or the organization.

Admitting when you don’t know something

If someone asks for your help, and you don’t have that specific skill set (yet), you may feel pressure to say yes anyway, because you don’t want to disappoint anyone.

But it’s better to admit when you don’t know something. It doesn’t make you seem weak—quite the opposite. In fact, it starts everything off on the right foot. You have a team with different skills, experiences, and strengths, so use them! Ask for their expert guidance. This shows you respect and value what they bring to the table.

Building solid and real relationships  

You want your team to have your back and to talk to you about anything. To do that, you need to build solid and authentic relationships with them. Find out what drives them as individuals, show an interest in their personal lives, ask what they’re doing this weekend, and celebrate important milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Taking the time to know your team as people shows them that you care.

Take the long-term approach

It takes time to build trust. Long-term planning and patience are needed. You can build trust with your team from day one by being honest and trustworthy, admitting mistakes, doing everything you say you will do, and being honest about what you can’t do. Doing this builds trust in the workplace, and when your employees see you displaying trust, they will follow your example. 


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Engage Employees for a Stronger Business

Employees are the fuel that runs your business. If you want your company to run well, you need to be able to recruit talented employees and keep them happy. And while this might seem like a significant investment of time and resources, it’s nothing compared to the cost of caustic employees and constant turnover. And if that’s not enough of a convincer, consider this: Companies with happy employees have happier customers.

Research found that engaged employees provide better experiences for clients and have 10 to 30% more client loyalty than those companies that don’t have engaged employees. And having engaged employees and loyal clients could seriously upgrade your business engine from Fiat to Ferrari. But you have to be committed.

Employee engagement programs are no small undertaking. Like anything else, you will need to put the work in if you want to reap the results. Experts agree that for employee engagement to have maximum impact, it shouldn’t just be a program run through your HR department. Instead, it needs to be integral to your core business strategy, with 100% buy-in from leadership. If you want to take your company to the next level, read on.

Employee wellbeing does not equal employee wellness

Frustrated, overworked employees will not give you their best and certainly don’t pass on happy feelings to clients. When your staff feels valued, cared for, and supported, they will share those positive feelings with you, your customers, and anyone else who will listen.

To build better workplace culture, you’ll need to implement policies and programs designed to help your employees achieve higher levels of work/life balance, satisfaction, and wellbeing. Yes, these programs can positively affect a company’s bottom line, as they often result in happier, refreshed employees who miss fewer days at work. But that shouldn’t be your only motivation. To be successful in your organization, you must have genuinely excited employees. This is where employee engagement can thrive.

Be careful not to confuse employee wellbeing with employee wellness. Wellness programs are great, but they often focus on health-related issues like increasing physical activity and promoting a smoke-free lifestyle. Wellbeing is a much more holistic approach that includes flexible schedules, relaxed dress codes, work-at-home options, personal career development, and professional mentoring.

Ask your employees what they need

How can you find out what your employees need? Ask them! There are many ways to do this: in one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, or tiny folded slips of paper in a super-secret suggestion box. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to gauge employee satisfaction and morale, try conducting a short survey. The following questions are examples of things you might incorporate into an employee survey:

  • Are you excited to come to work each day?
  • Do you tell people where you work?
  • Do you have all the tools you need to perform your job optimally?
  • Do you feel valued?
  • Does your management team inspire you?
  • If you could change one company policy, what would it be?

Talk about the results with your team

How often have you taken a survey, never to hear anything about it again? Sharing the results with your team promotes open communication and transparency. It will also let people know where they fit into the company culture. If only two people out of 1,000 said they want more rigid schedules and longer staff meetings, they’ll see they are in the minority. On the other hand, if 75% of staff wants a flexible PTO bank instead of separate vacation and sick days, that’s great information for everyone to know.

Use the information to make changes

The only thing worse than sending your feedback into an empty void is providing thoughtful feedback only to see everything stay the same as it was before. The whole point of conducting a survey is to let your employees know you are listening to them and that you care what they think. If nothing happens afterward, you’re sending the exact opposite message.

Do you have to implement every suggestion you get? Of course not. But you should provide information on policies you plan to change or implement based on employee feedback. Being honest and realistic about what will change and how fast it can happen is essential. Not all ideas will be feasible but choose the ones that make sense and communicate your plans as quickly and clearly as possible.

Employees are your foundation

Your employees are a highly critical part of your business. If you see them as individual production units rather than sales and service dynamos, idea generators, and brand ambassadors, it’s time to shake things up.


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Photo by fizkes


Strong Morale Means Strong Business

When employees thrive, the company thrives – making it critical that leaders put their people first. After all, people are at the heart of every organization!

Leaders who spend time boosting their employees’ spirits will lead a company to incredible growth, while others will experience the consequences of low morale. Take time to learn the causes of low employee morale before the effects catch up to you.

Why employee morale is important

Companies lose their edge by ignoring employee well-being, culture, and alignment. They often struggle to attract and retain top talent. At the same time, leaders that pay close attention to their employees’ well-being see them become more productive and engaged. These companies have the team spirit and engagement needed to persevere through times of struggle and major events.

Mineral’s recent study looked at the connection between morale and productivity throughout the pandemic. They found that companies with increased employee morale were 5.5x more likely to have increased productivity, and 83% of the companies reported increased revenue. Another study by Gallup showed that engagement increased profitability by 21%, decreased absenteeism by 41%, and lowered turnover by 59%.

Boosting employees’ attitudes is essential because companies will grow when employees’ spirits are lifted. But there is another reason why it is so important.

Ignoring low morale has consequences

Companies that ignore or wait too long to address low employee morale experience long-term problems that affect operations, performance, and growth. The most common problems include:

  • Loss of income ($350 billion annually!)
  • Decreased productivity
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Increased conflicts at work
  • Higher turnover rates
  • Lack of talent retention
  • Poor brand image

When morale is low, it is time to make some changes.

Give employee morale a boost

The key to boosting employees’ morale is not to consider one-time solutions; you want to integrate permanent solutions into your company culture. Here are some of the best ways to boost and maintain employee morale:

  1. Create an open line of communication and feedback
  2. Build a culture of positive thinking
  3. Organize team-building activities
  4. Create an employee recognition program
  5. Give performance-based incentives
  6. Implement a health-and-wellness program (mental health too!)
  7. Encourage employee development

Another great way to boost employee well-being is by identifying the root cause and finding an appropriate solution. You can prioritize employee development if there is a lack of career advancement opportunities, or consider team building activities and adjusting employees’ workloads and schedules if there is worker burnout. Still, you must implement each method because each employee has a different need and experience.

By taking these steps, you will boost enthusiasm and engagement by facilitating clear feedback and communication, recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work, and continuously encouraging their development.

Time to thrive

Let’s be honest. The pandemic hit employees’ spirits hard, and there will always be another crisis or event that will do the same. The event could be major, minor, personal, or internal, so lean into the truth that companies’ growth depends on the well-being of their employees.

Find opportunities to help your employees thrive, and your company will too. Start today by reflecting on how you can boost morale, and you’ll see your team persevere and thrive.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

The Student Becomes the Teacher: Mentoring and Mentorship

There is no such thing as a solo journey in life. We receive assistance along the way from our parents, friends, teachers, and coaches. And when we reach the professional stage in our lives, mentors like coworkers and bosses help us succeed. 

As we progress in our careers, we may be asked to mentor others, but it may be intimidating to take the role, whether it occurs during employee orientation or throughout an employee’s tenure. Sometimes we don’t know what to say, what to do, or how to ensure employees understand their roles.  

Moving from student to teacher 

At many points in our lives, we are students. Being a mentor moves us from the role of student to teacher and trusted advisor. As a mentor, we act as a guide for a person (a mentee) in their career. We answer their questions, offer advice, provide resources, and brainstorm solutions to whatever problems they might face. In turn, the mentee gains confidence and feels secure knowing they have someone to turn to if they have any questions or concerns. 

But what makes a good mentor? How can we be good mentors? 

Practice clear communication and listening 

Being a mentor doesn’t mean interrupting people or talking over them. Great mentors establish guidelines for the mentor/mentee relationship and understand what you both want—and need—out of the relationship. For instance: 

  • Do they want support and advice? 
  • What goals do they have? 
  • What do they want to learn? How can you help fill in the gaps? 
  • What kinds of resources will help them get closer to their goals? 

You’re the expert in your position, and you should help your mentee learn about their role, not do it for them. As a mentor, you’re the coach, standing off the field, and your mentee is the person holding the ball and executing the plays. Be a listener—better yet, be an active listener. Any concerns or problems your mentee has, validate them. For example, if they’re having problems keeping up with multiple tasks and the pressure that comes with them, make them feel heard. Then, work with them to devise a solution. Once they feel confident knowing they can come to you about anything, they will feel comfortable with taking on more challenging tasks. 

Give constructive feedback 

Mentees are still learning about themselves and their career. One of the most effective ways to offer constructive feedback is to be honest. Openness about your struggles and what you’ve learned along the way lets them know their struggles are valid, builds trust, and strengthens your bond.  

See them as a person 

You may work closely with your mentee and know their goals and aspirations and what they need to succeed on the job—but do you know what makes them tick? What about their life outside of work? Their hobbies? What do they like to do on the weekends? Getting to know them personally contributes toward building a solid relationship and understanding who they are. 

Celebrate their successes 

Mentorships and the conversations that come out of them can often revolve around problems and how to solve them. But what about when your mentees do well or achieve workplace success? Congratulate them! Don’t hold back. Let them know that they did a good job and why they did a good job. 

Have good character  

The saying goes, “Character is who you are when no one is watching.” Your mentee learns from watching you and your actions, whether you realize it or not. They see how you communicate with others and how you handle workplace stress. Make sure you show character by how you handle situations; show them they have a choice regarding how they react. On the flip side, tell them what actions you took to achieve that outcome and display humility when things turn out well. 

Know what you’re getting into 

Mentorship is a rewarding task to take on, but approach it as something you want to do rather than as a task to check off on your to-do list. Being a mentor takes practice and patience, but the more you work with your mentee, the more you’ll learn about them as a person both in and outside the workplace—and it will be a rewarding experience for both you and them. 


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Photo by kasto

Five Tips for Balancing Work and Big Life Changes

We’ve all been there. Whether you’re moving into a new house, preparing to have a child, getting married, supporting a sick family member, or going back to school, finding a practical strategy for managing your workload is crucial. Big life changes happen to everyone and take up a surprising amount of mental (and often physical) energy. This can lead to difficulty managing and balancing personal responsibilities with work responsibilities. Finding a good balance can be a real challenge, especially if you’re already feeling like you’re drowning under the pressure of managing it all.

If you respond to the change early and take steps to prepare yourself, you’ll be much better off in the long run. Below is a list of five things you can do to help you succeed at pulling off that big life change while staying on top of work.

1. Communicate with your team

So much of what creates a strong team is clear expectations. Be sure to communicate with them about what they can expect from you during this period of change. If you’re unsure, then communicate that—often. All they’ll need to know is that some things may be different for a while.

It can be tempting to keep life changes close to the chest. They’re personal and can take vulnerability to talk about—even if it’s something positive. But you don’t have to share everything with your team to get them on the same page. Sharing just enough to let them know you may have limited availability or might be slower to respond is all they need to adjust their expectations.

2. Set weekly priorities

Ever have a big task to get done and find yourself doing everything but that task? It’s a common experience. When we feel overwhelmed, many of us get sucked into busy work instead. Maybe it’s because we want to distract ourselves from the anxiety of the Big Task, or maybe it’s because we have a buildup of energy (excitement, anxiety, stress). You don’t want to find yourself cleaning out all the random files on your computer when you need to spend time on a big project with a deadline fast approaching.

At the start of the week, make a list of everything you want to get done. Then make a list of everything from your first list that you must get done. Breaking out your priorities in this way helps clarify what you should spend your time on each day. Make sure to spend a few minutes every day prioritizing what’s on your list so you can keep your eye on the target throughout the week.

3. Block out your time

Excellent time management is a huge part of successfully managing a life change in the workplace. Block out time on your calendar to protect your priorities from being encroached upon. Time blocking is a great practice for:

  • Creating accountability
  • Providing uninterrupted periods of highly focused time
  • Communicating with your team about what you’re working on
  • Protecting your time from filling up with meetings

At the beginning of every week, review your top priorities and add blocks of time into your calendar for each priority you’ve outlined. Doing this will allow you to relax into your week; knowing that you’ve set aside enough time to get everything done will help you focus on the task at hand.

4. Ask for support

Whether it’s from your boss, coworkers, or friends, asking for help during a time of change can make or break your success. The truth is most of us can’t do everything all the time. Admitting to yourself what your capabilities are and then asking your community for support can get you through the most challenging periods of change. At some time or another, we all need a little help. Big life changes take a lot of energy and time, so there’s no better, more qualified time to ask for help.


5. Lean on your boundaries

For people pleasers or those who have difficulty saying no, periods of big life changes can be especially hectic. If you are tempted to take on another project or offer up your time to a coworker or friend, ask yourself if it’s reasonable, given the context of your current life. It can be hard to make the mental switch between ‘this is my normal life’ and ‘this time in my life is especially difficult,’ even if you have a good reason.

We want to be able to function the same no matter what we’re going through. But you won’t thank yourself if you have that same mentality in the middle of a big transition. Even if you have the time, do you have the mental capacity to take on something new? Chances are, you don’t.

So, practice saying no until you can trust yourself to do so when it counts. You’ll thank yourself in the end.



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Photo by jankovoy