For any business or organisation, trust is crucial. If the employees can’t trust their managers or those at the apex of the hierarchy can’t trust their employees, the organisation is likely to face several hardships. The importance of trust is beautifully explained by Warren Buffet, who said it’s similar to the air humans breathe. When it exists, no one notices. But when it goes missing, everyone notices.
This brings us to the vital subject of what trust is. To answer, it’s a rock-solid belief in the reality and reliability of something or someone. When trust gets eroded, it has a massive impact on various facets of an organisation or company. For instance, if your company has carefully built and nurtured a reputation in the market, a momentary lapse of judgement can destroy it all because the emotion at the heart of breaking trust is betrayal.
Trust isn’t a magic formula that happens overnight. Rather, it’s built slowly in small moments. Every single decision you (or your company’s management) take can either boost trust or destroy it. For instance, a company’s leadership that focuses on the “do as I say” policy is likely to be trusted less than another where the leaders prefer to lead from the front and emphasise “do as I do.”
After almost 2.5 years into the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made remote and hybrid work models popular, trust has become paramount today. To perform optimally, employees must trust their managers. Managers also need to trust their employees and help them understand their allotted tasks instead of micromanaging them or keeping them under a tight leash with tracking software and other technical gadgets.
Why Trust Is Crucial in Remote and Hybrid Work
Regardless of company size, industry, or leadership styles, a defining characteristic of successful companies and organisations is their high-trust culture. Instead of micromanaging employees or sticking to the old “seeing is believing” theory that drove traditional workplaces, new-age remote and hybrid work models need more flexibility. Perhaps this explains why the command-and-control culture of traditional workspaces has made way for a workplace culture that emphasises transparency, openness, and employee empowerment.
Putting faith in your employees is a smart strategy. Deciding to place more monitors and controls on employees and managers (rather than simply trusting them to do their assigned tasks to the best of their ability) creates a governance structure for misbehaviour and even reinforces self-centred extrinsic motivation. Instead of hiring lawyers and compliance people, companies should fill their ranks with people they actually trust and let them do their jobs.
“Why trust?” The answer to this question is simple – because it works almost like a charm, most of the time. When you trust your remote employees and those following a hybrid work model, you will find they finish much more in a collaborative spirit driven by win-win situations than when setting them up against the culture of paranoia. When you provide them with a cooperative and harmonious setting, your employees will feel happier and accomplish much more than when you try to keep them under close watch and micromanage. A glowing example of how trust helps businesses thrive can be seen in Google.
Google has often been listed among the world’s best places to work. Though many people attribute the company’s workplace success to generous perks, Google’s leaders mention high levels of trust as the prime reason for their success where others have failed.
Sadly, many companies and organisations still have pay discrepancies between their full-time in-office workers and those working remotely or under the hybrid model.
Remote and hybrid workers also face situations at work, like
- being overlooked for promotions
- not getting access to company training or resources like laptops provided by their employers
- missing out on crucial information as their managers don’t share it
- not given a chance to participate in decision-making
- not getting paid for work-based calls
- no access to technical support
A lot of these happen because employers don’t trust these workers and feel their contributions to be lesser than their full-time, in-office counterparts.
It’s time to change the mindset and way of work, especially where remote workers and those working under the hybrid model are involved. Many of these workers have developed greater skills, like better discipline and awareness of their own capability and resilience due to their experience. Now, their employers need to recognise them at par with their in-office counterparts and treat them accordingly.