Measure Trust and Improve Your Culture, Productivity and Financial Results

Set the tone for trust at the top.

What is trust in an organization, anyway?  It is described as an essential component in the quality of a relationship, a feeling of confidence and security.  It is rooted in the culture of an organization and changes as relationships between people change.  People trust organizations where they feel safe and that they perceive to be: 

  • Committed – both parties believe relationship is worth maintaining and promoting 
  • Fair and just – resolve conflicts in healthy ways 
  • Dependable and consistent – do what they say they will do
  • Concerned and supportive for employees, clients, and other stakeholders 
  • Connected through common goals, concern, safety, etc. 
  • Respectful of the others’ boundaries, have confidence in the other’s judgement
  • Open to input -listen and be willing to make changes for the better 

People that work in a trusting environment are more productive – they get more done, with better results and less stress.  They help each other, are reliable and loyal to the company and each other.  They communicate well and expect that their efforts will be rewarded fairly.  Trust is the foundation for building strong teams, for a positive culture and delivering positive results.  

Despite knowing this, most companies are not measuring the levels of trust in our organizations even though, by measuring and improving trust, we can significantly improve our value.  Building trust starts with the leaders who will set the goals for measurement.  From there it will involve setting the baseline, developing relevant questions, communicating to everyone why and what you are measuring, collecting the results and, finally, analyzing and improving the results annually. 

What might this look like?  While there may be multiple types measuring, this will commonly involve having everyone complete an anonymous questionnaire that asks a series of questions relevant to their relationship with the organization.  I’ve seen this work with a 1-9 scale to indicate the extent of agreement.  The questions will be developed in terms of the goals and objectives of the organization.  Some examples of questions that might be included might be: 

  1. This organization treats people like me fairly and justly. 
  2. This organization can be relied upon to keep its promises. 
  3. This organization and people like me listen to what each other say. 
  4. I believe this organization wants to maintain a relationship with people like me. 

Dr. John Blakey’s article in Forbes Measuring Trust estimates that increasing an organization’s Leadership Trust Index (a trust measurement they’ve developed) by 20% results in 

  • A 15% drop in stress levels
  • A 3% drop in sick days 
  • A 10% increase in productivity 
  • A 15% increase in employee engagement

Measuring trust results in multiple benefits for both owners and employees as well as stakeholders.  A healthier, happier, more productive and engaged organization that is focused on improving its relationships will be more fun and more valuable! 

If you’d like to discuss the level of trust in your organization, or how to get started with a valuation of your company now or you have questions about other topics like readiness for sale, we’d be happy to have a confidential complimentary conversation with you about these or any other exit/sales/buying issues.

You can reach me via email: [email protected] or on my cell phone a: 224-688-8838.

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Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio