Human Resources & Employee Engagement – a Matter of Trust

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In most successful relations, the underlying foundation is one built out of mutual trust. It’s hard to maintain ongoing communication and goodwill with someone whose integrity is of a questionable nature after all. The same feelings hold true for employers; if workers don’t feel comfortable with the honesty and forthrightness of their employer – they will seek a more secure environment elsewhere. It is up to the human resources professionals at an organization to establish, maintain and project an unimpeachable sense of integrity in order for a firm to acquire and retain the top talent it needs to be successful.

Building a trustworthy organization is an ongoing endeavor. According to Robert Hurley, professor at Fordham University in New York and Director of the Consortium for Trustworthy Organizations (CFTO); trustworthiness must be embedded in company culture throughout. At high-trust companies, Hurley has found that HR, along with compliance departments, works with line managers to shape culture. Because of their importance in the process, HR and compliance departments at these firms are staffed with high-quality leaders who carry respect and power within an organization. All of their powers of influence can be called upon.

"Getting senior management to pay as much attention to integrity and trust as they do profit and stock price is a big challenge," Hurley says.

That reveals perhaps the most serious challenge of all: staying on the straight and narrow over time despite corporate short-term focus. "Organization drift" is to blame for most trust violations, according to Hurley, rather than "evil managers," and HR must lead in helping organizations learn what may cause drift and find ways to mitigate it.

"In an era of unprecedented transparency, reputation is both fragile and a competitive advantage. And reputation is a key element of an organization's brand both in attracting customers and employees," says Ravin Jesuthasan, global leader of talent management for Towers Watson in New York and a CFTO forum participant. "We also find that key elements of trust, specifically company image and the credibility of senior leaders, are significant drivers of employee engagement." From ‘'A Matter of Trust' by Matthew Brodsky.

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace study defines Employee Engagement as the employee’s level of emotional connection to their organization. Workers who are engaged invest more discretionary effort into their work every day - and higher engagement also means lower employee turnover. The point is clear: engaged employees deliver superior business results. There’s a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and engagement, and customer loyalty, company revenue and profitability. And that bodes well for the company and its customers.

If you’re in a position to increase employee satisfaction and engagement, it makes absolute business sense to do it. From 'Driving Employee Engagement through HR Shared Services'