We continue to talk about employee engagement. And that’s fine. Employee engagement is an important topic. With increased competition in the labor market and the skills gap, employee engagement is more important than ever.
But figuring out if you have an engaged or disengaged workforce takes one simple question:
Do you trust your employees?
Before answering the question, people should consider what the question really means. Let’s examine a few examples:
“Yes, I trust my employees to take care of customers while I’m out of the office.”
“I trust employees will represent the company well on social media.”
“I tell employees what’s happening in the company because I trust they will keep confidential info, well, confidential.”
Now, I’m not saying that employee trust doesn’t come without proper training. And I didn’t say trust exists without the clear communication of expectations. It only seems logical that, when we do those things, we should trust our employees. And if an employee doesn’t perform to standard, then they would be coached or possibly counseled. Even then, we’re not talking about a lack of trust – good people we trust can make honest mistakes every once in a while.
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Trust is about having confidence in someone or something. Engagement is employees trusting that their manager and the company always has their best interest in mind. And it’s leaders trusting the team will do what’s in the best interest of the company. When a manager doesn’t trust the team to do the work, there’s no way engagement exists. And if the team doesn’t trust the manager, the same applies. Co-workers who don’t trust each other will negatively impact the engagement of the entire team.
Employee engagement is built on trust. The question is whether or not trust exists.