Nine Important Ways To Maintain Employee Trust During A Pivotal Moment For Your Company

Nine Important Ways To Maintain Employee Trust During A Pivotal Moment For Your Company

Major changes are often necessary for a company that wants to keep growing and scaling. When critical moments occur, however, (such as a merger or landing a major client) leaders need to set the tone for the rest of their employees. How they respond to them will trickle down and set the example for how everyone else will work.

One of the most important things a leader can do in these times of change is fortify and maintain the trust of their employees. Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their methods for keeping employees’ trust during pivotal moments for a company.

1. Explain, Then Listen

If you are going through a large change within your organization, you need to do two things: explain, then listen. Start by being open and transparent. Everyone on your team needs to know what is happening, why it’s happening and the role they play in this change. Then, stop talking. Give your team the floor. Let them ask questions, restate what they heard and even just vent. This might take a half hour after a meeting, or your team might need a week or two to process the new information. Everyone accepts change at a different pace. If you want your team to respect and trust you, you need to give them the space to think through the implications of the change, both in conversation with you and on their own as they look forward. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

2. Give People Meaningful Opportunities To Weigh In

I firmly believe that “buy-in” comes from meaningful and valued opportunities to weigh in. As a leader, it’s important to provide a sense of direction and a framework for forward momentum, but it’s far more powerful to solicit the input of team members along the way than to roll out a fully developed plan and expect them to abide by it. Empower your employees to share their feedback and ideas—on the goals themselves as well as the path to achieve them—long before they are deemed “final” and officially announced. A shared sense of ownership will encourage commitment, loyalty and motivation that will build trust and lead to more effective outcomes. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep

3. Communicate Regularly And Frequently

It is very common to reduce the frequency of communication during times of upheaval. The unstable situation may make leaders unsure of what will happen and, therefore, they tend to stop communicating. However, this can often backfire as the lack of communication breeds more tension and uncertainty, which can result in a decrease in motivation and productivity. The best way to avoid this is to provide regular communication, which includes some of the background of what is happening and addresses the most common concerns that employees have, such as will they lose their job, will they get demoted or experience a pay cut or will they move offices. Addressing these common queries can really help quell unease and anxiety in the office and help ease the transition while still running business as usual. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Hold A Town Hall Meeting

We have “town halls” in our business where we meet to discuss matters related to the company. This gives people a chance to ask challenging questions and get answers. I find that holding a meeting like this builds trust and also allows us to discuss changes in a safe and friendly way. I think every business owner should have their own version of a town hall. It’s doing it regularly over time that makes it so effective and creates trust between the founders and the employees. When changes or pivots do happen, there’s already a foundation of trust and consistency, and it just makes it easier to ask people to adjust to changes and assuage any concerns they have. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

5. Offer Solutions Instead Of Blame

To maintain employees’ trust during a critical point for your company, it’s important to focus on solutions instead of looking for others to blame. It shows that you care about fixing the issue and, as the business owner, you’re responsible for anything that happens under that umbrella. Taking responsibility for hiccups or mishaps shows that you can take accountability instead of looking for reasons not to fix the problem. It builds trust among your team who see that making mistakes isn’t the end of the world and that you’re capable of handling it. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Focus On Transparency, Honesty And Truth

Like every other business in the world, we were faced with a lot of uncertainties last year. The number one key to success, not just during a pivotal time or critical point, is to be as transparent as possible. Now, there are things you can never share, but you should certainly look at yourself and ask, “What am I sharing right now and what can I share right now?” Keep in mind that sometimes not sharing because you think it will frighten your team is probably better to share than your team guessing or speculating. Transparency, honesty and truth are key. – Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs

7. Be Vulnerable With Them

Being as vulnerable as possible with your employees is the best thing you can do to earn their trust. Admit where things may have gone wrong or off track, but spell out why this pivot is important, where you see the company going and the role that they play in making this happen. It’s important to make them feel safe with the change and that they are a valued part of the company’s decision making. – Finnian Kelly, Intentionality

8. Explain The ‘Why’

Speak to why the company is making a change. If the team isn’t clear on why the company is headed in a particular direction, it’s difficult for the team to do all the things you need them to do when you are not in the room. Then, there’s only one true test to see if the team truly understands: Have the team member articulate the “why” back to you. It’s even better if you hear the “why” in a different impromptu setting instead of when it’s just a direct question. However, both show you if your message actually made it through. – JT Allen, myFootpath LLC

9. Keep Your Mission And Values At The Center

Think back to your company’s mission and values. When creating your company, you likely had a vision for how it would be run and the type of culture it was going to have. To gain employees’ trust, make sure your actions align with the mission set for your company. It helps to build your credibility and encourage your team to trust you moving forward. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

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