A full quarter of American employees do not trust their employer.
That's according to The American Psychological Association's 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey released this week. The survey found also that 32 percent of American workers feel that their boss or organization is "not always honest and truthful."
"This lack of trust should serve as a wake-up call for employers," Dr. David Ballard, the head of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence, says in a press release. "Trust plays an important role in the workplace and affects employees' well-being and job performance."
In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Ballard says his study found three predictors that define the most trustworthy companies. To find out what you need to be doing to instill more trust, read below.
Involve your employees.
Ballard says the first key predictor for a trustworthy company is how involved in the company employees perceive they are. "To better involve employees, companies can implement group problem solving, self-managed work teams, profit sharing and stock plans, and 360 [degree] performance evaluations," he says. "It's not enough to just do the annual employee survey without letting people know what the results are and how changes based on them will be implemented. You need to give employees control and autonomy in what affects them every day."
The second predictor for a trustworthy company is employee recognition. If you treat your employees like workhorses, they are not going to trust you. As your staff accomplishes goals and surpasses expectations, you must make sure they feel your gratitude. "Employers must focus on monetary and non-monetary recognition, both formal and informal," Ballard says. "Compensation is the most common type of work stress cited in our surveys year after year. Employers can reward people for high levels of performance, make employees visible for accomplishments, and implement peer recognition programs. Sometimes that's more meaningful than praise from a manager."
The last predictor is communication. Ballard says this is critical because it "bleeds into all other workplace practices." "Employers must support good communication between employees and managers, make sure everyone is familiar with the mission of the organization, and offer ongoing opportunities to give feedback to managers. Bottom-up communication is as important as top-down," he tells HBR. Your actions are also a factor. "Communication isn't just what you say--it's what you do," he says. "Modeling behavior is very important."