When I built my first company, I didn't understand that trust was so valuable. I had read every book in the world but didn't fundamentally understand the basics.

Building trust among your team is one of the most important qualities in developing a successful work culture. Over the years I've had to learn that it's a lot easier said than done.

Increasing team camaraderie can increase productivity, where your employees want to work harder, longer, and care more for the company's success.

Here are 8 strategies that I've employed to inspire trust, most of which I find overlooked by 90% of all c-level executives:

1. Create a mentorship program.

Building an official mentorship program helps your new hires better adjust to the company culture. From day one, new employees will get access to their mentor, who can be a closer, less intimidating resource than say, an upper level director. This generally makes for a much easier transition and helps employees focus on their new role faster.

Furthermore, creating this holistic and inclusive program prevents "targeting." You do not want to select special groups for extra training or onboarding, as they may feel singled out (for better or worse). It is generally best to try and be as fair as possible!

2. Be transparent.

Your employees have a desire to feel important. They do not want to work on meaningless tasks that no other people will ever actually read. Often times, managers will sugar coat the importance of a project to get their employees to work harder.

This backfires long term. You want your employees to trust you! So have managers share the "true project plans" as quickly as possible. While a bit radically transparent, this helps you gain buy in with your employees. And, it helps you keep them around longer term - no one expects this type of treatment off the bat.  

3. Institute no hour tracking.

Employees do not want to feel like they are constantly being monitored. Take them off the leash and trust them. Things like clocking in and out all of the time are activities that breed feelings of distrust.

While it may not always be your intention, putting these systems in place can ruin the culture of the workplace. Make for more flexible hours, and even allow remote work, you will be amazed by the response!

4. Have team bonding events.

Being self-employed is hard. One hard thing for me is that no one looks forward to working on a Friday afternoon. And most people's productivity levels show that! Plain and simple, people are not efficient nearing the weekend in the middle of the summer. As a company, you should try and find activities that recharge your team and instill new life.

A great way to do that is to find a community event that your employees can attend. Things like trips to the local park, hiking, and sporting events can make for fun, team building times for your team. These are great opportunities for everyone to get to know each other and even learn a thing or two about the company.

5. Do community service as a team.

Finding opportunities to give back gets seemingly harder and harder as you get older. Help your employees accomplish their own personal goals, while helping out your local community. Show to them that you are willing to invest in their passions (like community service) by hosting events and fundraisers for the causes they choose.

Your employees will see the investment you are making in them and be more likely to stay long term.

6. Host a March Madness tournament.

People are naturally competitive, and the opportunity to compete against coworkers is an experience that can bring people together.

Given that many of the games take place outside of work hours, creating this tournament could also result in many employees spending time together outside of the office to build comradery

7. Have a "bring your children to work" day.

In empathizing with your employees, realize that their children are often the most important people in their life. An easy way to make them happy is to help them see their "most important people" more often.

Host a "bring your children to work day" to show your team you appreciate them. More than that, you can make both they and their kids' week by making the investment in them, so they can have fun together. Be sure to plan fun activities for the kids!

8. Solicit feedback and implement change!

One of the most important ways to make employees feel trusted is as simple as it gets - listen to what they have to say! Employees spend countless hours working in their job, and as a consequence they really understand what works well and what can be improved.

There are many ways to get feedback, from employee-manager meetings to open forums to anonymous feedback sessions. The most important thing, however, is to actually try and implement some crowd-sourced solutions.

Nothing is more disillusioning to an employee than sharing an idea they thought about for a long time and feel personally connected to, but not acting on it.

While you shouldn't be forced to take on every employee's new ideas, it is good etiquette to, at least listen to the idea all the way through. Then engage the employees and tell them why you feel as if their suggestion is not able to implemented at this time.

These simple changes that any company can do go a long way in increasing employee satisfaction and happiness.

Published on: Dec 12, 2017