Just trust me! How a lack of trust really harms your business

There’s an endemic lack of trust in businesses in the UK.  And it could be doing real damage, especially to small businesses.

Perhaps a lack of trust makes you reluctant to give new responsibilities to existing staff – an “if you want something done, do it yourself” mentality.  Successful businesses rely on trust between staff and management. High levels of trust have been shown to improve staff retention and motivation: a worker who is trusted will feel a greater motivation to succeed on behalf of their employer. A study on the relationship between trust and success concluded that earning the trust of employees gave you a competitive advantage, increasing sales, profits and turnover: the theory being that if employees don’t trust management to recognise their hard work, then they won’t work as hard as a result.

Poor trust in a business can also slow down decision making – decisions will constantly be passed upwards for approval and nothing gets done.  This slowness is decision making makes a business struggle to adapt to a change, perhaps the sudden loss of a big client or a change in laws and regulations.  We see this happen in hiring all the time, where talented people are lost to a company because they can’t act fast enough to get them on board.

When it comes to trust in hiring, too often management is more willing to hire someone they know or a friend-of-a-friend, rather than openly advertise for a role and take a chance on a stranger.  This approach means that businesses are held back from taking a risk on the most talented people for the job, in favour of knowing what to expect from someone.  In theory, someone you know might be far less likely to let you down than taking a chance on a stranger.  But if you aren’t willing to put your trust in someone else, then you can really be putting your business at a disadvantage.

Being reluctant to hire because you don’t want to put your trust in a stranger can prevent your business from growing if you can’t grow your capacity to take on new business.  Not only might you be giving a job to someone less qualified and less capable just because of a personal connection, but those young people eager to learn and train but who lack those connections will be disadvantaged and that makes hiring even harder for the future for everybody.

It’s perfectly natural to be cautious about bringing new people into your business. But put your trust in the best people to do the job, whether that’s a new starter, outsourcing an element of your business like marketing or recruitment, and you’ll be en route to success!