How to Foster Trust in a Competitive Work Environment
With employees clamoring over one another for promotions, credit and praise, the work environment can be a stressful place. But HR professionals can honor everyone’s goals while fostering trust and creating a healthy, productive work environment.
Highlight Individual Strengths
You hire employees because of the skills they bring to the business. If your business is suffering from lack of recognition, you hire a marketing expert. Weak sales figures demand expert salesmen and saleswomen. Get your employees together to discuss what they bring to the table.
It’s better to focus efforts on improving an individual’s strengths rather than trying to improve on weaknesses, says Thomas Rath in his revolutionary book, Strengths Finder 2.0. By highlighting what each team member does well, you foster a sense of appreciation and cooperation within your team.
Ask for Goal Lists
Employers often make the mistake of being too self-centered. Employees who feel like their every effort only benefits the company are more likely to crave some sort of recognition in return, which leads to competition. Instead, turn the focus back on your employees.
Ask your employees to make a list of the goals they want to achieve while working for you. What do they want to get better at doing or what numbers do they want to reach? While your employees’ goals and your business goals may overlap (such as “become more comfortable giving presentations”), showing your employees that you care about their life satisfaction will reduce interpersonal conflict and boost individual morale.
When employees are anxious, their productivity suffers. How can you focus on crafting a winning presentation when you’re stressed out about your coworker one-upping you on another project? Take steps to reduce anxiety and allow your employees the head space to flourish.
Make sure employees know that they won’t be punished for making mistakes. Encourage your team members to voice their opinions and brainstorm different ideas. Set clear priorities for your team and stick to them. Put any rules, policies or job expectations in writing so there are no surprises. Give everyone plenty of notice when an audit or performance review is coming up. By making the workplace as stress-free as possible, you can foster trust with your employees and create a safe, productive work environment.
A trusting workforce is a productive workforce. Building trust comes down to acknowledging each employee’s value to make them feel important and secure in their position, showing interest in your employees’ personal goals and creating a stress-free workplace. If you take care of your employees, they’ll power your business to success.