What’s your reaction, when your manager says, “I trust you”? You start wondering whether it’s a statement or a question. The fact is, despite her doubts, she is trying hard to convey that she believes in you so that you don’t feel bad.
When it is hard to believe in teams sitting in the same office, how does one build on the trust factor when you have team members working from remote locations and overseas offices?
Trust is more than the word itself. There is no magic formula to develop trust. It takes years to build it.
Here are some basic rules to follow to build trust.
Transparency: An important factor to enhance trust is ‘transparency’, where each team member supports the action and decision through proper rationale and reasoning. The focus should be on the quality of communication and not the quantity.
Appreciation: Trust can also be enhanced by frequent ‘appreciation’ of good work. Trust may be established better by celebrating more successes together through video calls, wishing birthdays and sending gifts on special occasions.
Power change: To build a high degree of trust, power needs to shift among the members, depending on the stage of the project.
Equal time to all: All workers should be given equal time irrespective of real or virtual. If any of the employees feels neglected it creates mistrust within the team.
Sriharsha Achar, group CHRO, Apollo Hospitals, says, “The leader should have more of a ‘monitor and mentor’ approach instead of the traditional ‘command and control mindset’.
“In addition, it is important to build interpersonal trust pro-actively. Managers can help build personal connect by starting a meeting with a five- minute talk on what’s happening in their lives, both professionally and personally,” suggests Achar.
Besides the usual rulebook, interestingly, technology is also aiding to build on the trust factor by facilitating better conversation and communication between the managers and their teams. For instance, there are now tools available that promote productivity and communication as a beneficial practice. It helps the manager remain abreast with the tasks being worked on and this sculpts an engaging employee experience, which finally improves production.
“In addition, it is important to build interpersonal trust pro-actively. Managers can help build personal connect by starting a meeting with a five- minute talk on what’s happening in their lives, both professionally and personally.”
Rajorshi Ganguli, president and global HR head, Alkem Laboratories, opines that the traditional functions, such as sales, have also undergone a sea change in their way of functioning and so have the relationships between the managers and his executives. Pharma is one sector where there are a large number of sales professionals working remotely.
Monitoring remains a big hindrance to the trust factor. Employees neither enjoy being monitored, nor do they like being questioned unnecessarily. Technology brings in a transparency into the system so that these unnecessary questions are avoided and necessary feedback is provided.
If employees, especially remote team members, get a feeling that they are being monitored for unknown reasons and never get to know the feedback from the monitoring, it is bound to alienate them.
“Now, we use online technology to assign tasks and get the daily sales report. Technology facilitates a system, where everyone is on the same page and knows what the other person is doing. This has brought in a lot of transparency to the system, and thus, built on the trust factor,” says a senior HR professional from a leading pharma company.
In earlier days, postcards were used for the DSR and the sales representative had to post letters from the city or town he visited to prove that he had actually visited that place.
Hesitation around employee monitoring cannot be completely wiped out, but by sharing the purpose of monitoring it becomes more convincing for the employees. It also helps them identify areas where they are lagging. By explaining any identifications, such as this to the team when they occur, the manager can strengthen the importance of using monitoring software and further his communication, transparency and engagement efforts.
Employees who are aware of being monitored are more driven to stay on task and pump out quality work. However, increased productivity will only come when the employees understand why they are being monitored. Failure to disclose the reason for monitoring waves the scent of distrust. As a result, employees are less likely to feel like a part of the team.
“You can avoid unnecessary doubtful questions that hamper trust. Instead, you can spend the time to enhance the trust by ‘appreciating’ frequently of what is done well.”
Ganguli says, “You can avoid unnecessary doubtful questions that hamper trust. Instead, you can spend the time to enhance the trust by ‘appreciating’ frequently of what is done well.”
Be it the team sitting in the same office or working remotely, be it use of technology or the traditional ways, there has to be a shared sense of purpose and clarity with regard to the deliverables. This will ensure trust.