The Meaning Of Communicating Trust

According to Levin, Cross, Abrams, and Lesser (2003), establishing trust between management and employees takes a bit of work. Quite often, employees have not been given a reason to trust the company, and it is up to the managers and leaders to establish trust. Lack of trust is one of the key reasons employees resist the change process. For this reason, it is in the best interest of the company to make sure that they create ways to genuinely establish an environment of trust.

Trust can be facilitated through creating a common understanding of how the change effort needs to take place. Managers can also model the desired behaviors, so employees are constantly exposed to the desired behaviors needed to ensure successful change. Managers must also bring their people together to rally for the change process. This requires input and feedback from employees at all levels of the company. When employees feel as if they are a part of the process, they rally to make sure the changes are implemented quickly and efficiently. Resistance is then reduced.

Communication

Quite often, a failure to communicate can cause a change effort to fail. Obviously, every company has different levels of information that should or should not be shared. However, communication about the change, including the reasons, methods, and vision of the future are imperative to avoid or reduce resistance. The idea of operating on a “need to know” basis will only create suspicion and mistrust, and this will hamper effective change. This is why all information that will have an impact on employees should be shared and discussed.

This is also called transparency. Transparency means information that is vital to the change is shared rather than withheld. The value of communication lies with the way information is communicated. When a company is seeking complete change, including behavioral changes, communications should be open and honest, and managers should solicit feedback and questions (Richardson and Denton, 1996).

Management should respond to employees quickly and honestly about how the change will impact them. Communication should take place using several different types of channels, including

  • face-to-face
  • memos
  • newsletters
  • e-mail
  •  company intranet
  • telephone
  • posters
  • signs
  •  modeling

Ironically, even the company grapevine can be used as a method for communicating the need for change as long as the information passed through it is accurate. Whichever channels are used, the need for change should be placed as a constant reminder.

Shared Vision or Participation

It is one thing for the leaders of a company to have a vision of the future and an entirely different thing to instill that vision throughout the organization at every level. Visions of the future must be shared, but the question becomes: how is this done? If the management and change agents have worked on establishing trust and communication, then sharing the vision should be easier in the long run. However, this may not always be the case. One way to share the vision is to involve employees in the process of creating the vision.

This can be done through discussion, interaction, involvement, and feedback.  When managers encourage organizational members to be a part of the process of creating a vision, the credibility of the vision increases because employees will believe in it. Collaboration on the process encourages buy-in from organizational members. This collaboration can include people from all of the stakeholder groups

It is one thing for the leaders of a company to have a vision of the future and an entirely different thing to instill that vision throughout the organization at every level.

Visions of the future must be shared, but the question becomes: how is this done? If the management and change agents have worked on establishing trust and communication, then sharing the vision should be easier in the long run. However, this may not always be the case. One way to share the vision is to involve employees in the process of creating the vision.

 How do you share your company’s vision to your employees?

Abrams, L. C., Cross, R., Lesser, E., & Levin, D. Z. (2003). Nurturing interpersonal trust in knowledge-sharing networks. Academy of Management Executive17(4), 64­–77.

Richardson, P., & Denton, D. K. (1996). Communicating change. Human Resource Management35(2), 203.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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