Organizational Trust: What it is & How to Build It

The year 2021 has set a new record in job resignations. That’s 47 million Americans quitting their jobs in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

This phenomenon has now been dubbed The Great Resignation and continues to grow through 2022.

Under this scenario, many companies began to rethink their priorities and question how employees perceive them. One of the concepts that received the most attention was undoubtedly that of organizational trust. This article will tell you a little more about this concept and its impact on your organization.

So, what’s exactly happening?

A lack of opportunities for career advancement, feeling disrespected at work, and low wages are the top of the list of reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year (as shown by a survey distributed by the Pew Research Center).

All those things (among others) decrease organizational trust, which quickly translates into labor resignations. 

As this trend continues, some of you may ask: “what is this Organizational Trust thing you are talking about?” and “What can my organization do about it?”.

What is Organizational Trust?

At its most basic level, organizational trust is your employees’ belief in your company’s conduct. This can involve faith in management or team members, but it also includes administrative aspects such as:

  • The company’s goal
  • The vision of senior management
  • The beliefs and culture of the company
  • Workplace equality, diversity, and inclusion
  • Processes must be ethical and fair.

Organizational trust is essential. Why? A robust set of values guides many businesses. But one virtue in particular, “trust,” is at the heart of every good culture. 

While interpersonal trust among people, teams, or management is crucial, the unified results of that trust are much more so. Trust is frequently associated with specific actions and outcomes, but it’s a classic chicken-and-egg scenario: firms can’t attain outstanding performance without establishing a trust foundation.

This is where trust inside the organization comes into play. Let’s explore…

Organizational trust is multi-dimensional. Thus, understanding, acting on, and managing it among groups may be beneficial. At the team level, it’s simple to imagine trust. You have faith in your employee to do this assignment before the deadline. Management may give you feedback, and a peer can assist you with a deliverable. However, organizational trust is a larger concept that is probably more difficult to describe.

How to build organizational trust?

At this point you have surely understood the importance of this concept for your organization and why you should allocate resources and focus to developing it internally. Here are some basic aspects for you to start promoting this important value.

Establish communication channels:

Creating channels for all members of the organization to express their perception of what happens in the organization or their feedback on daily situations is important, not only will it allow you to avoid culture problems, it also offers a channel of communication between employees and the parties responsible for taking action on the feedback received and avoiding situations that make the organization uncomfortable.

The most effective channels of communication are usually:

  • Online suggestion box: They are the digital version of the suggestion boxes of yesteryear; this consists of a suggestion box where employees can express themselves freely and report situations that may be affecting their performance or how they feel about the company.

You can create an online suggestion box by adding basic questions and creating a personalized link that is easy to remember so that anyone in the company knows they have a communication channel. On platforms like QuestionPro, it is possible to create it in seconds, make the responses anonymous, and send a notification to the managers so they can learn from the feedback in real-time. Learn more about this methodology in our article: Online suggestion box

  • 360º Evaluations: 360º evaluations are a powerful tool many organizations use worldwide. It consists of an evaluation in which the collaborators are evaluated by their colleagues, managers, and/or those responsible for the area.
    It is beneficial to find the strengths and opportunities within the organization. Still, it is also an excellent way for people to express their opinions on different aspects of the organization and their perception of them.

As it is an exercise carried out regularly, a communication channel is created for all collaborators.

  • 1-on-1 meetings: Nothing is usually as effective as a conversation, so making sure that all employees have the confidence to request an appointment with anyone and share their honest opinion is a good initiative that the human resources team can encourage within the organization.

Promotes cooperative dynamics

Creating trust is one of the most effective ways to promote organizational trust since human capital is a vital part of it. Therefore, creating a union between all collaborators usually facilitates the creation of trust and organizational culture.

From interdisciplinary collaborations in teams to social dynamics such as birthday celebrations or onboardings, any dynamic that encourages healthy and pleasant interaction between collaborators will strengthen the bond between collaborators.

Provides transparency

Nothing reinforces trust more than transparency, so the organization must promote these values ​​and create systems that allow employees to know what is happening with the company.

Giving access to vital information about the organization’s performance and status allows for greater peace of mind. It eliminates uncertainty among employees and is a gesture of trust that strengthens the professional ties between those involved in helping the company achieve its goals.

Online dashboards, reports aimed at the entire organization, and project management systems are just some channels and initiatives you can promote to start providing transparency among all your collaborators.

In addition to these measures, there are other initiatives that you can try, such as

  • Anonymous surveys
  • Inclusion measures
  • To promote teamwork
  • Offer training
  • Provide clear goals and performance based on those KPIs

How can QuestionPro help you strengthen your organizational trust?

QuestionPro is much more than a survey software; we have a series of functions encompassed in a product called QuestionPro Workforce, with which you can measure the organizational climate and maintain constant monitoring of the perception of your collaborators and the level of organizational trust of your company.

With QuestionPro Workforce, you can have access to:

  • Employee experience surveys
  • Dashboards to detect trends and areas of opportunity within your organization
  • 360-degree feedback evaluations
  • Strategic accompaniment

Are you interested? We invite you to learn more about this platform and schedule a meeting to understand in depth everything this powerful tool can do for you and your organization.


Authors: Sanjida Satter – Gerardo Vázquez