Trust in a So-Called ‘Post-Truth’ Era

Trust can be a tricky thing to find and most would agree it is certainly fragile. We only need to watch an online news bulletin to see someone’s trust being smashed into a million pieces – from political wrangling to gossip about a celebrity from a “close source.” Could intra-organizational trust, trust levels within your business, be the very thing affecting growth, collaboration, repeat custom from clients as well as challenges attracting the talent you both want and need within your business?

Businesses are facing change at a rapid rate as we see the world of work changing, the gig economy becoming more and more evident, robots being welcomed as colleagues and the decimation of some stalwart names in retail and the high street. From narrating the fast-paced presence of workplace AI and robotics to organizational reshuffles, trust can really ease these pathways.

Let’s look at what intra-organizational trust looks like. While there has been a resurgence in the interest around researching trust it is specifically the phenomenon or trust between employees and managers or between co-workers that I’d like us to consider today.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Directory of suppliers to staffing firms

I read and hear so much on networking sites about leadership and the workplace of the future but how much do organizations understand about the perceptions and attitudes of their people? Consider these questions:

  1. Do you trust your organization’s senior management?
  2. Do you trust your colleagues?
  3. Is collaboration an easy, free-flowing activity within your organization?
  4. Do you do things to “cover yourself” during your working day (like saving or sending specific emails etc)?

Intra-organizational trust is much more than the overused and, in my opinion, flawed and over-hyped “engagement” concept, it is generally a belief that there will be a positive outcome to an interaction – it’s a risk assessment, a weights and measures game – if we enter this interaction, are we likely to have a positive experience? When I mention the word trust to people, they often closely associate it with honesty, authenticity and communication, so we need to consider these aspects as we build trust.

At this juncture, it is really important that we recognize that investigating intra-organisational trust is not a finger pointing or blame exercise. It is absolutely feasible that people join organizations having had negative experiences before, we are humans, we take our experiences and expectations along with us. Trust deficits may not necessarily point to an organizational failure but knowing they exist and where they are will help you redress the balance.

As the foundation of many positive workplace activities and it is reasonable to assume that employee and worker trust is significant to sustainability, retention, brand protection, employer of choice labels and wellbeing. Take mental wellbeing as an example and the suggested annual cost of worker mental illness to UK businesses of 26 billion GBP. If your workers have a low level of trust, how likely are they to approach their manager with a mental ill health concern?

All in all, trust is fundamental to us as tribal humans, it is where we feel safe and protected as well as where we will go the extra mile for our fellow tribe members. If your business has people at its heart, serving customers, representing your brand or operating the robotics and technology which you and your clients have invested in for the future, trust needs to be yours and your clients’ foundational focus.


Luciana Rousseau

Luciana Rousseau
Luciana Rousseau is human behavior insight and research lead at The Human Behaviour People. She can be reached at luciana (at) thehumanbehaviourpeople (dot) com.

Luciana Rousseau

Share This Post


Recent Articles

Powered by ·