Gaining someone's trust is hard, especially when that someone is your employee. And yet, it's crucial as the leader of your company that you earn the trust of every single person on your payroll. After all, employee trust levels towards their boss have always been linked with employee satisfaction and productivity levels.

So how exactly do you go about bridging the employee-employer divide in order to truly earn your employees' trust? Well, here's what has worked for me.

1. Spend more one-on-one time.

Obviously there'll be a disconnect between you and your coworkers if the only time you ever talk to them is when you're running a company meeting or addressing them in a group setting. I get that if you're the head of your company, you probably don't have a lot of time to spare. But even a few minutes of one-on-one time with each of your employees can go a long way towards strengthening your relationship with them. In fact, knowing that you took time out of your busy schedule in the first place to meet with them will make the act all the more appreciated by your employees.

2. Conduct entry interviews.

Building trust with your employees can begin before they even show up for their first day of work. If you don't already know, entry interviews are aimed at newly hired employees. The purpose of these interviews is to acclimate and inform new hires of what to expect for their first couple weeks on the job. It also gives the new hires a chance to voice any concerns they may be having as well as to talk about their career goals. The result? Your new hires see that you're serious about their careers and that you have their best interests at heart.

3. Ask for their input.

Maybe you never realized this, but it's an awesome feeling for employees when their boss genuinely asks them for their input on big picture matters. It empowers them and makes employees feel like they're truly an integral part of the organization and team. In fact, asking for employee input is a win-win situation. Not only do you gain the trust of your employees, you also get to hear some potentially super helpful suggestions from your team.

4. Become more transparent.

Honesty is the best policy, and so is transparency. Far too often, employers mistakenly think it's in their company's best interest to keep things on a need-to-know basis. They'll tell their employees to do this and that without ever explaining what role these tasks play in the grand scheme of things. Employee salary figures and company profits are also information companies tend to keep confidential, and while there are, of course, reasons for such secrecy, oftentimes this can do more harm than good.

5. Give them more autonomy over their jobs.

Some employers like to babysit their employees through every aspect of their work. Employees have zero room for creativity and close to no decision-making power. As a consequence, employees feel belittled and devalued, which is obviously not what you want if you're looking to earn their trust.

Remember, you hired the employees you have because you believed they would excel at their jobs. If you have trust in your own hiring decisions, it stands to reason that you should trust your employees to make their own decisions and produce high-quality work without needing your stamp of approval every step of the way. By trusting your employees, your employees will naturally begin to trust you back.

6. Socialize with them outside of work.

You must be thinking I'm crazy to suggest this. A boss hanging out with their employees after work? That's absurd! The funny thing is, this might just be the most effective trust building recommendation yet. While you might be someone who religiously believes that work life must be separated from personal life, spending time with your employees during after-hours, whether it's having dinner together or simply chatting, can go a long way. In fact, coworkers hang out with one another after work all the time. It's a major reason why employees are far more likely to trust their fellow coworkers than their boss to begin with.

Published on: Jul 27, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.