More than ever, job seekers are prioritizing roles that align with their values. When given options, these job seekers will choose an organization with a strong culture and good work-life balance over the highest salary. And one of the most highly sought-after traits is a workplace filled with trust.

Companies that can foster a sense of trust between management and team members can look forward to better communication, higher retention, reduced costs, higher productivity, and better teamwork. However, building trust requires sincere effort from both management and employees. To foster a genuine culture of trust, the following strategies should be implemented.

Active listening

If you truly want to develop trust, one of the simplest ways to do so is to learn how to communicate well and actively listen. Your team members want to feel like actual people who make meaningful contributions, not just cogs in the wheel. Taking time to actively engage with them and listen to their concerns will build a meaningful relationship.

Forbes’ Dr. Samantha Madhosingh says that in a rapidly evolving technological culture, making time to have face-to-face conversations (even if they’re over Zoom), is an excellent way to cut through the static and build personal engagement. Caroline Castrillon adds to stay actively engaged in conversations by making eye contact, asking questions, and avoiding distractions to show your team members that you’re there in the moment with them.

Be consistent

Having the intention to build a culture of trust is great, but it means nothing if you aren’t actively working toward that goal. A hallmark of trust is action, not platitudes. You must take the right actions and be consistent in your efforts to make any real headway.

Achievers says it starts by not expecting others to do things you’re not willing to. Whether it’s showing up on time, doing your homework before an important meeting, or staying calm in a tight situation, you must practice what you preach. Once your colleagues see you making those efforts, they’ll trust you to do it consistently and make increased efforts themselves.

Foster transparency

It’s hard to build trust if your colleagues feel like they are in a cloak-and-dagger environment. Keeping secrets, leaving things on a need-to-know basis, or purposefully keeping people out of the decision-making process won’t earn trust.

The more transparent an organization is, the more likely you’ll gain a sense of trust and appreciation for the team. For managers, Forbes’ Caroline Castrillon writes that setting clear expectations, keeping your team in the loop, being honest about outcomes and decision-making processes, and being open to feedback encourages transparency. This builds trust by opening communication channels and increasing collaborative efforts.

“Openness is a foundational feature of teams that trust, empathize, and support one another. Leaders can model these values in their day-to-day operations and impart them during regular training or onboarding initiatives.” –Chris Williams, Training Magazine

Keep everyone involved

These transparency efforts are a way to keep everyone in the organization involved, another key way to build trust. Feeling like one’s managers and team members have their back and value their feedback makes someone feel like they belong.

Learning how to share credit, speak up for the contributions of others, and look for ways to involve someone in group efforts is something you can do regardless of your position in the company. You’ll earn your coworkers’ respect and appreciation, and they’ll be more likely to trust you in return. Even small acts like thanking a coworker or praising them in front of the team can go a long way.

“A paycheck alone isn’t enough to build trust and demonstrate that you value your team. It’s also necessary to provide real-time recognition for a job well done.” -Caroline Castrillon

Wrap up

Trust isn’t something that can be faked. It requires continuous efforts to evolve and reinforce. Both management and team members can build this culture by taking time to make sure their words and actions align and by learning to work together. Work may only be a fraction of your life, but you can strive to make that space better by working to develop trust.

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