By Randi Busse
One of the questions I frequently ask clients is whether or not they trust their employees. I ask this with purpose, because if an employer does not trust the employees who are interacting with their customers, then the employer can’t trust that customers are being taken care of.
A company’s frontline employees are the ones who create the all-important first impression. Employers must be able to trust them to make that first impression a good one. Unfortunately, far too many employers retain workers they don’t trust and, as a result, jeopardize relationships with customers.
Trust Is the Foundation
Trust is the foundation of any relationship between employer and employee. This trust manifests itself in two ways. First, employers want to be able to trust their employees to perform the job according to the set standards. This includes taking good care of customers. Second, employees need to be able to trust that their employers will take care of them, just as they are expected to take care of customers.
A lack of trust in either direction is usually an indication that a particular employee should not be put in a position of interacting with customers. If that employee cannot be trusted to do the job up to standards, he or she certainly cannot be trusted to interact with customers. Likewise, if the employee does not trust that the employer will take care of him or her, customer satisfaction isn’t going to be a priority.
Finally, consider this: An employee who is not trusted by his or her employer will probably not be trusted by customers either. Do you see how important trust is?
Communication, Retention, and Motivation
With trust as the foundation of employer-employee relationships, we can build on that foundation in the key areas of communication, retention, and motivation.
First, a relationship of trust between employers and employees rises or falls on the ability of all parties to communicate. Owners and managers must be willing to effectively communicate what’s going on within the organization so employees feel empowered to be part of it. Likewise, employees must be willing to communicate their thoughts and ideas so that management understands what is on their minds. Both sides need to be more than willing to listen and respond accordingly.
Second, when trust exists in the employer-employee relationship, retention is a lot easier. A solid relationship built on trust puts everyone at ease. It makes the employer happy to keep the employee and it reduces the likelihood that the employee will look for a new job.
Finally, employees who know they are trusted are more likely to have confidence that they will be retained and, therefore, will be more motivated. The more trust and confidence there is, the more motivated employees will be.
Show Employees Your Trust
If it helps you to better understand the concept of trust in the employer-employee relationship, think about it in terms of parents and children. Older children who are treated like adults will begin to act like adults. Employees respond much the same way. Treat them like trusted team members and they will begin acting that way. Empower your employees by demonstrating your trust and they might just surprise you with the way they take care of your customers.
Remember that trust in the employer-employee relationship is a two-way street. Do your employees trust you? Mutual trust creates an environment to which customers flock. If you don’t have trust, you may not have your customers for very long.
Randi Busse is president of Workforce Development Group Inc., a customer service and employee development training, coaching, and consulting organization. She will be a speaker at the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting & Marketplace in Charlotte, N.C.