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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Build Trust Virtually

How to Build Trust Virtually

Trust is fundamental in any highly engaged, high-performing team. Without trust and integrity, people question why they want to work for a company or manager who doesn’t have convictions. When asked, highly engaged employees describe their companies and leaders as “authentic” or “genuine.”

Building trust takes time. Whether in person or virtually, it can take months or years to build a solid base of trust, but it takes just minutes to lose it. Trust is ever-evolving and something you need to be mindful of every day.

7 Ways To Build Trust Virtually 

Interestingly, most leaders believe people trust their motives and decisions, but that isn’t always the case.

According to PwC’s Trust Leadership Institute, 84% of business leaders believe employees highly trust their company. But their research shows that only 69% of employees highly trust companies. This is a gap here that needs to narrow.

Trust begins with you. You may wonder how you can build trust when you work virtually more than in an office. The simple answer is the same way you build it in person.

Trust-Building Questions to Ask in the Workplace

Here is a look at a few ways to build trust with everyone in your company.

1. Do the right thing

2. Be transparent

3. Appreciate honesty and candor from others

4. Take action on employee engagement survey results

5. Encourage employees to share what it is like to work there on social media

6. Discuss and live your company’s Core Values every day

7. Spend one-on-one time with your employees

1. Do the right thing

Doing the right thing is not just a matter of marketing but an uncompromising stance that should be taken by all leaders.

  • Do what you say you will do by always keeping your promises. Don’t make promises you can’t keep to please people at the moment or believe it is what they want to hear.

  • Be open and honest, sharing your capabilities truthfully. You don’t need to be a business superhero. Instead, admit that an area may not suit you and you need assistance. Allowing someone else to be the hero allows them to feel as though their contributions matter.

  • It is okay to admit you are human. If you need, let others know when you feel you failed them, let them down, or didn’t hold true to your word. Allowing people to see that you trust them with these acknowledgments provides a sense of freedom for them to do the same with you.

2. Be transparent

You may not be able to share privileged information with people, but you can provide an overview of where you are headed, your performance numbers, your goals, and how everyone can be a part of the bigger picture. Being transparent and not hiding behind “closed doors” allows people to know what is happening without speculating and creating a false sense of security.

Sharing information shows people you have faith in your employees and that this information can be trusted in their hands. Our company has State of the State meetings a few times a year. During these meetings, our CEO shares that he trusts us with this information and knows it will be kept internally. Showing that he trusts us by sharing company details leads us to trust him as well.

Top 15 Reasons Your Employees Stay

3. Appreciate honesty and candor

Trust promotes transparency which gives your people confidence in the company's decisions and faith in the integrity of their leaders.

For people to feel they can be honest and candid with you, psychological safety must be in place. When people feel safe in speaking up, they are more comfortable admitting mistakes, they learn from their failures, they are more open to sharing new ideas, and they are motivated to make decisions on their own.

Encourage your employees to talk to you without feeling they may be shut down. Show an appreciation for the candor of what they have to say.

4. Take action on employee engagement survey results

If you regularly conduct employee engagement surveys, it will be important to share what you uncovered. If employees are willing to share their thoughts and opinions with you in a survey, they want to know you heard them. The way to do that is by sharing your findings, along with the next steps you will take.

Show them that their voices matter and follow through by taking action on the survey results. Failing to act on the insights you learn will damage the trust of your team. When you acknowledge that their voice was heard, lay out plans to take action on these thoughts, and share this with them, trust begins. Increase your communication, and remember to be as transparent as you can.

5. Encourage employees to share what it is like to work there on social media

When employees enjoy working at your company, allow them to share their sentiments with others. Encourage employees to share what it's really like to work, thereby making, posting, and sharing short videos. Giving them the freedom to do so.

When someone is a social influencer, they can spread good thoughts about your company for others to know. Trusting someone to help build your brand goes a long way.

Reinforce Positive Behavior in the Workplace Through Employee Recognition

6. Discuss and live your company’s Core Values every day

Reinforce the importance of your Core Values by recognizing those who demonstrate them and refusing to tolerate those who don't. As a leader, you show character by holding yourself and others accountable for what the company stands for.

Are you consciously living by the words you expect others to live by? Live by a “do as I do, not a do as I say” mentality. When others see you living by these words, they will more easily see their importance and follow your lead.

Give shout-outs to those that live by your core values; sharing with others what you saw and celebrating allows those words to come to life.

7. Spend one-on-one time with your employees

Show employees that they are important by scheduling one-on-one time with them, showing up to those meetings on time, and investing in their growth.

  • Take time to listen. What are their aspirations, goals, and personal dreams? Be the leader that listens more and talks less. Someone recently shared with me that they make a note at the top of their Individual Focus Meeting (IFM) notes that says 80/20. They encourage the person they are with to do 80% of the talking. Imagine what you will learn if you do this.
  • In these conversations, uncover learning opportunities. Studies show how important learning and development are to people. Is there an area this quarter where someone could grow? Imagine if you focused on one area each quarter; their level of personal fulfillment and accomplishment increases as the year passes. They will see that you are a leader who cares about their growth.


Trust is the building block of engaging people at work. If they don’t trust your actions, vision, or intentions, their longevity with your company will be short. We love a quote on trust by Warren Buffett.

He said, “Trust is like the air we breathe. When it is present, no one notices, but when it is absent, you can’t help but notice.”

Make it a goal to build trust with those around you. With trust in place, you will go far.

Now Available! ENGAGE 2023: The Company Culture Report

Topics: company culture build trust