Highly engaged employees describe their company as authentic because they are who they say they are. They live their core values, rewarding those who demonstrate them and not tolerating those who don’t.
It’s no secret that when your employees are engaged, they are emotionally committed and willing to give their best at work. That’s because engaged employees feel as though they have a stake in the game and a sense of purpose which makes them willing to give it everything they’ve got to achieve success. Employee engagement has a major impact on business success, proving to reduce turnover, increase performance, and retain key customers.
Elevator Four: Earned Trust
The first Engagement Elevator, Shared Mission, taught us that organizations with highly engaged employees have a clear sense of where they’re going as a company and why. The second elevator, People Development, focused on how managers can show that they care about their people, build individualized relationships, transparently share information, coach both strengths and weaknesses, and provide meaningful feedback. And, the third elevator, Valued Voice, set the stage for employees to trust their coworkers and leaders enough to participate in open, two-way communication.
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the final factor that the best company cultures have in common, Earned Trust. You will want to consider how your organization rates right now, and how you can improve engagement on your own team in the future.
If you talk to people who are highly engaged at work and ask them about their leaders and their company culture, you will likely hear them use words like “authentic,” “legit,” or “genuine.” That is because companies with strong cultures and engaged employees are who they say they are.
Companies That Demonstrate Earned Trust
Trust is fundamental to high performance in a team and high engagement in an organization. We have found that companies with strong cultures of integrity develop trust in the following ways:
- Live their core values every day. Especially when times are tough.
- Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do — not just as a matter of marketing but as an uncompromising stance taken by all leaders.
- Communicate their commitment to their people through both words and actions.
- Show character by holding themselves and others accountable to what the company stands for.
- Encourage candor and consistently show appreciation for honest, accurate input.
A recent Gallup poll shows that only 17% of people rated the honesty and integrity of their company executives as either “high” or “very high.” That lack of trust leads to a lack of employee engagement.
Company Example: Airbnb
For years, Airbnb employees remarked that it made a huge impression during their first week to hear live, directly from the general counsel of the company, about ethics. “No global movement springs from individuals,” explains Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO. “It takes an entire team united behind something big. Together, we work hard, we laugh a lot, we brainstorm nonstop, we use hundreds of Post-Its a week, and we give the best high-fives in town. Integrity, honesty—those aren’t just core values. Those are values that everyone should have.”
How Does Your Company Measure Up?
- Does the description of your company on your website and in your sales collateral match how your employees would describe their experience there?
- When an employee does not behave in a way that aligns with your core values, is that dealt with immediately?
- Do your leaders put the needs of their team ahead of their own?
- Do your managers lead by example, demonstrating the behaviors they expect from others every day?
- Do you have a “speak up” culture in which your employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions and concerns?
Integrity is the act of behaving honorably, even when no one is watching. When it comes to business, someone is always watching! Companies that value integrity, commit to hiring only those who have integrity, and expect people to behave in ways that align with their core values and generate strong employee engagement.