There has been exponential growth in remote and hybrid positions in the recent years, but with those new positions we have seen a decline in trust between employers and employees. Now that organizations are remote, it is difficult to establish an initial connection between employees and employers.
Are you ready to have a more inclusive organization? The heart of creating an inclusive work environment is recognizing that everyone is human and acknowledging that our perspectives can greatly differ. Below you’ll find some tips on how to foster inclusivity and establish an environment where your employees feel welcome and valued.
How to Build Trust in Remote Work Environments
- Establish Clear Expectations from the Beginning: Trust can be lost when individuals feel unsure of their position and their expected performance. At the beginning, be sure to elaborate on the organization’s expectations as well as the expectations for the individual position. More specifically, give precise number of check-ins, when and who to report to or ask questions, when deadlines are, reoccurring meetings, etc. The less employees must question about their position or the company the better.
- Promote and Support Employee Wellbeing: Some employees are new to remote work, others have some experience. Either way remote work can be difficult for many individuals. Working remotely can take a toll on one's mental, physical, and emotional health, making it hard for an employee to be productive and positive. It is imperative that the employers provide compassion, empathy, and patience during the struggles that develop in these new working conditions, and in return a trusting relationship will develop.
- Provide Productive Feedback: It is easy for remote workers to feel unappreciated and distanced from their work and others in their organization. Providing productive feedback will help them feel included, appreciated, and part of the team. This will establish the trust in themselves that they are doing well, and that they are needed in the organization. It will also allow them to trust that their employers will always be open and honest with them, and that they do care about what is being produced by them.
- Provide Employees with Necessities for Success: Working from home can lack the office necessities that are normally accessible in an office setting, make sure to provide these at the start of employment. It can cause a lot of stress if a remote employee feels they must provide these once-provided “necessities" and can discourage them from wanting to work remotely. Providing everything from the beginning will allow the employee to trust that the organization not only cares about their success, but also the success of their employees.
- Hold Everyone Accountable: It is difficult to manage employees when you are not working directly beside them, so it is important to establish accountability from the beginning. Let them know the expected standards and that everyone in the organization is held to the same expectations. Avoid micromanaging at all costs, as this can discourage people and make them feel there is no trust in their abilities. Make it clear that their deadlines are their responsibility, that the quality of work will be assessed by what they produce, not by the process they choose to take to get there.
- Be Transparent: It is hard to read body language and emotions through virtual communication (video calls, emails, chats, phone calls, etc.). If you are transparent and politely express your thoughts, concerns, and opinions, everyone will trust your word up front. This goes for both employers and employees; everyone needs to be expressive and not assume that others understand what they are saying or feeling. Be open to conversation and corrective criticism. Transparency is the key to effective communication and establishing trust between everyone in a remote working environment.
- Tell the Truth: Truth is the foundation of trust. Employers need to be honest about the position being filled and the expectations of the employee. Employees need to be truthful about their interest in the position, their desire to be a part of the team, and their capabilities. From there on, truth needs to be present in everything an employee or employers does. The slightest lie could do permanent damage to the trust between the two and others.
- Dedicate Time to “Be Together”: Loneliness is one of the biggest struggles in remote work and can be the biggest downfall. Requiring the team to come together as one is extremely important and can keep the “loneliness” from destroying an employee or even the whole team. This will also help build relationships between employees and allow them to trust those they are working alongside. The trust between employee and employer is important, but the trust between all employees is equally as important. Creating a designated time for everyone to come together and feel like an in-person team can make an immense difference in the success of an organization.
Trusting Relationship Between Employee and Employer
Everyone wants to work for an organization where everyone can trust one another and rely on those around them. This is not something that just happens, especially in a remote environment-- it takes dedication and immense effort. If an organization can establish a healthy relationship with their employees, the natural wiring of trust will automatically happen; it is the effort to build that trust up and to make it stronger that will take work and dedication from both parties. A healthy work relationship makes for a healthy working environment, and that allows for a successful organization. Let the natural ability of trust run its course but follow through with these tips to increase the trust that each person is already capable of.