Trust. Defined as “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” the definition goes on to say “Good relationships are built on trust.” If we think of our Engagement efforts as the ultimate in good relationships, then we should recognize trust as playing a very large part in our culture. If Engagement is to indeed succeed at the Enterprise level – from employees to vendors, partners to customers and everyone in between – there must be trust.
Sounds great, right? However, there’s a catch. Trust right now, especially among the millennials who had the 2008 market crash as the ultimate “breaking of a generational trust”, and for many Gen-Xers as well, is at an all time low. This isn’t trust that will be easily rebuilt, as it was baked into their consciousness as a very strong way of thinking about things. In addition, it also is built into their goals of long term vision over short term gain. Trust needs to be built from the ground up, as part of the company culture, and as a reason they decide to join your company.
Some of the first steps are to be human, honest, transparent and reciprocal. (these all help your overall goal of Enterprise Engagement, not just for the newest, largest section of your workforce – the Millennials) What do we mean by this?
Well, let’s begin with the idea of reciprocity. Showing you will and do trust employees to work in atmospheres where they will be allowed to show initiative and be believed in to do the jobs they have will allow them to begin to trust you and the company mission.
Being transparent and honest can come through general communications, but it is much deeper than that. Allowing the use of, and actually using yourself – social elements as a company, will bring both familiar tools and opportunities for employees to be vocal and involved in photos, videos and content for the company. This helps put the human touch on your company from the inside out. Add in a little community involvement and you’ll solve another issue for your overall trust building within the culture of the company as well as within the surrounding community (who are a large part of Enterprise Engagement.) Remember, when you are using social methods, the goal is for the company to use it to recognize the employees, making statements that show their value to the organization and how they are involved. Use social media for the good it can create in transparently laying out an entire, easy-to-understand vision of how the company operates and how each employee and others are important.
Trust is also gained in leveraging the strengths of the Millennials – allowing them to help build out technology and reciprocate in building a culture they can believe in the strength created. It has been our experience that companies who adopt this approach gain in time savings due to new apps they didn’t know about being implemented or new approaches being found that increase efficiency due to new perspectives. Bad tech is a sign of company failure to most Millennials and if you’re behind the times in that area, it will be hard to attract (and keep) Millennials.
Allowing for flexibility within the workplace also creates an atmosphere of trust. Being able to recognize and even celebrate work-life balance allows for employees to know you trust them to get the job done and still respect their valuable family and personal time. If you develop Enterprise Engagement properly, this can be a great foundational idea to your new company mold and brand.
Remember, the next generation(s) thrive on recognition, involvement and encouragement, but desperately need that work-life balance and strong trust in the mission, structure and technology of the company. Each of these elements we’ve discussed being integrated will resonate with a large percentage of your workforce, with a wide swath of your customers, clients and with your vendors, partners and community. This may seem to be focused mainly on the employees, but proper implementation of these steps and tools will have a much greater reach than just the internal employees or just one generation. It will spread company wide and from there, blossom outward, if done properly.