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Trust in me… How to Restore Loyalty in the Workplace


Trust has become a massive problem in Australia. Enquiry after enquiry has exposed disrespect for people, dishonesty and greed among corporations, institutions and even the church.

The recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry – once our most trusted institutions – exposed endless scandals. Now a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is expected to expose ingrained problems in the standard of care we provide to ageing Australians.

It used to be that banks and airlines were our most trusted commercial entities. Now, a Roy Morgan poll has found that a supermarket – and a relatively new one at that, has taken first place in the trust stakes. ALDI has become Australia’s most trusted brand eclipsing NRMA, Bendigo Bank, Qantas and Bunnings!1

Losing trust is expensive. Research by Deloitte found that businesses whose brands stagnated over the past year saw their revenues fall by 13%.2

Roy Morgan’s recently released Net Trust Score (NTS) survey, identified the important drivers of trust as including reliability, customer focus, knowledgeable staff, ease of contact and previous good experiences with the company, in addition to other key performance indicators.2

Drivers of brand distrust revolve around perceptions of self-centredness, greed, and dishonest and deceitful business practices.

Trust starts from within a company. The way leaders treat their staff and contractors will significantly impact their loyalty to your business, the way they behave towards each other and towards your customers.

Around 32% of a worker’s loyalty is the result of feeling trust towards his or her boss. But how do you build that trust?3

Communication is key and according to leadership expert Mark Murphy,3 it’s all about open, honest and constructive discussion. His research shows there’s a lot to be desired.

Murphy says his research shows that only 6% of people say that at their organisation, good suggestions or valid complaints from employees ‘always’ lead to important changes.  Indeed, 25% said good suggestions or valid complaints from employees ‘never’ lead to important changes.

Additionally, when over 27,000 executives, managers and employees were asked whether their boss responded constructively to concerns expressed, only 23% of said yes and 17 per cent said their leader ‘never’ responded constructively.

If you’re one of those very many employers who has not responded constructively to employees who share concerns, it’s likely that your staff has stopped sharing with you altogether and instead, they’re complaining among colleagues and perhaps grumbling to customers as well.

It’s time to turn things around:

The first thing you need to do is to encourage them back into the fold.

  • Engage employees with searching questions that seek out real information about the challenges they’re facing at work,
  • Respond like a coach and less like a manager:
    • Keep an open mind and resist being defensive, even if their response is a direct criticism
    • Ask more questions about potential solutions, what they’ve done to resolve the situation and and how they believe you can help

Changing the way you respond to your employees and contractors will take a conscious effort but the returns will be worth it. Not only will you have a more loyal team, but Murphy says, they’ll be about 12 times more likely to recommend your company as a great employer.

Talk to Ayers

Ayers has been helping businesses like yours succeed for over 20 years. Our experts are here to help you with administrative, compliance and HR resources… talk to us about how we can remove the day to day pressures of your administration so that you can get back to building your team and expanding your business.