Practical Application: Building Trust in the Workplace

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Trust can make or break a relationship. In the workplace, it can even make or break the business. Read on to discover how to analyze and build trust in your company.

Building Trust

In the workplace, trust is a two-way street. Managers must trust their employees, and the employees must also be able to trust their managers. However, ensuring that a work environment is conducive to building trust rests mostly on the manager's shoulders.

After reading the lesson titled Building Trust With the Jacobs Model & Intrinsic Drivers, you are now aware of The Jacobs Model, which outlined the eight drivers of motivation.

These drivers can lead to engagement and effort in employees. If those drivers are met, then you will build trust in your workplace. A lack of trust can have a major negative impact on a business.

Current Trust Levels

Let's first look at how you can assess the current levels of trust in your workplace. You can use the eight drivers from the Jacobs Model to do so. Remember, these drivers focus on motivation, both extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal). Extrinsic motivators are outside of the person, while intrinsic come from within. Both types can be beneficial and used to help build trust.

For each of the drivers, ask yourself the following questions. Write down your answers in brief sentences.

1. Belong and Connect

  • Do I lead any sort of activity or event each week/month to building a sense of belonging in the workplace? If so, what?
  • How well do my employees work as a team?
  • Are there opportunities for collaboration? If so, what are they?

2. Significance and Position

  • Do my employees feel valued?
  • How do I promote value in my employees? What programs are in place to do so?
  • What extrinsic rewards or motivators do I provide?
  • How do I encourage intrinsic motivators?

3. Learn and Challenge

  • Are there opportunities for challenge or gaining more responsibility?
  • How are employees challenged on a daily basis?
  • How many employees are doing repetitive tasks on a daily basis?

4. Security and Certainty

  • How secure are my employees in their positions?
  • Do they feel secure?
  • Do we have a lot of turnaround? How many employees were let go last week/month/year?
  • Are there any areas where my employees might have uncertainties in how the company is run? Do we jump in too fast with changes without proper training?
  • Are there inconsistencies throughout my company?

5. Voice and Recognition

  • How do I show recognition for a job well done?
  • How can my employees voice a concern? Do I provide an anonymous method for feedback to me?
  • How are they treated when they have given feedback?

6. Fairness

  • Are my rules fair?
  • Do I treat my employees fairly? Do I have any biases?
  • How do I hand down consequences? Is there a clear discipline procedure regardless of who violates the rules?

7. Choice and Autonomy

  • Do my employees have any choice? If so, in what areas? If not, how can I provide choices?
  • Do I micromanage? How can I find out if I don't know?
  • Do I trust my employees to work independently?

8. Purpose

  • Does every single employee have a clear purpose?
  • Do my employees have goals? Are they able to come with their own goals?
  • What is the purpose of my company overall?

Final Steps

You took the time to jot down your responses for those questions, so now what? Well, now you have to analyze the current level of trust and formulate a plan to strengthen your weaknesses.

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