A guide for HR leaders

Organisational trust – does it matter and should leaders care?

Jen McKay

By Jen McKay on Dec 21, 2023.

Organisational trust – does it matter and should leaders care?

Organisational trust. It can take years to build and only moments to erode.  But it’s absolutely critical to business success, given the close alignment between trust and performance.   


The COVID-era has placed new demands on organisations, leaders, and their people as remote working overnight became a reality.  Positively, our The Future is Now insights paper noted that employees felt trusted to perform their roles during the 2020 lockdown. However, our latest insights show that those levels have eroded as businesses adapted to their new environment.  


It begs the question: How do we get back there? 


As a leader, you have an important role to play in the creation and maintenance of trust. Everything you say and do either adds or detracts from it. Your people are watching, listening, and evaluating to see if you are worthy of their trust. All. The. Time. 


When organisations listen to their people, and act on what they hear barriers to solving problems reduce, they become more profitable, customer service levels are higher, and a culture of inclusion is created.

So how do you build trust and maintain it? 


  1. Through listening. By listening, you are creating space for trust to be built and grow. When organisations listen to their people, and act on what they hear barriers to solving problems reduce, they become more profitable, customer service levels are higher, and a culture of inclusion is created. By listening to ‘hear’, you’ll develop a reputation as a great listener, an empathic leader, and one that people feel safe to open up 
  2. Through clarity, openness, and transparency. Good things start to happen when leaders communicate openly, transparently, and ethically. And more so if it’s backed up by action. People are more engaged, effective, motivated, and have higher levels of wellbeing and involvement. Not only that, but innovation increases too. 
  3. Through people-centred leadershipThe role that leaders play is vital. Are the leaders in your organisation focused on“business first” or do they see people as the key to business success? People-centred leaders see their most important role is to help others. They listen, ask questions, empower others to succeed, and play an important role in coaching.  

Trust is a delicate and valuable commodity that can either thrive or wither, depending on the environment. 

What are trust levels like in your organisation? Do your team members feel like they belong?

Do they believe in your organisation’s values and goals? Does your organisation and its leaders inspire trust?  


If you’d like to find out, please contact us for a chat.  We’d love to help.