In a recent newsletter, our associate Shiela Julien referred to trust as “the soft concept producing results that are hard to beat.” Trust’s significance in an organization’s success has been explored by keen observers of human and organizational dynamics, such as Patrick Lencioni in “The Five Disfunctions of a Team” and Stephen M. R. Covey in “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.” They emphasize that a lack of trust among management teams is the root cause of poor performance and that high-trust organizations outperform their low-trust competitors by 300%.
At Kronos, a leading global provider of workforce management cloud solutions, trust is not just discussed but actively put into practice. The CEO, Ain, can provide firsthand insights into how trust works and the tools and methods used to support and enhance its effectiveness. At Kronos, trust is expected from everyone, both within and outside their functional areas. This culture of trust has contributed to remarkable business results, including improved employee engagement, retention, innovation, and revenue growth.
Contrary to the perception that trust is a soft concept, it is crucial for creating an agile and highly competitive organization. A lack of trust hampers decision-making speed, innovation, and improvement. In a low-trust environment, communication suffers, and employees hesitate to take risks or challenge the status quo. Trust enables a safe environment for creativity, continuous improvement, and open discussions about reality, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Without trust, organizations experience poor results. In low-trust environments, employees withhold information, leading to incomplete decision-making and flawed execution. Lack of trust undermines strategies and prevents shared commitment. However, trust serves as a powerful form of motivation and inspiration. When employees feel trusted, they perform better, demonstrate more innovation, recover quickly from mistakes, and exhibit greater energy and enthusiasm at work.
Building a culture of trust requires hard work and deliberate efforts. At Kronos, trust is instilled one manager at a time, starting with the CEO. Employees are given significant autonomy and their competence, judgment, and good intentions are assumed. Trust is supported by effective internal communication, leadership courage that fosters vulnerability and conflict resolution, and a commitment to studying results and adapting accordingly. Kronos has proven that investing in a high-trust culture is worthwhile, unleashing the talents and creativity of their engaged workforce to drive continuous improvements and meet customer needs.
Now that the value of trust is apparent, organizations would do well to emulate Kronos’ success by fostering a culture of trust.