When we think of new employee onboarding, we picture paperwork, email setup, and training. While those things are essential for onboarding, the impressions that managers and team members make on new employees are equally important. Relationships are what drive us to produce great results, build the best teams, and leave our footprints on the industry. The one undeniable and absolutely necessary aspect of thriving work relationships is trust.
So, how can managers start building trust in the workplace from day one of new employee onboarding? Here area few ideas on that subject:
1. Give New Employees Your Trust
Showing new employees you trust them isn’t just a precursor to gaining their trust. It establishes respect, on both professional and personal levels. When a manager puts their trust in an employee, it unconsciously creates a sense of accountability in the employee. Recognizing this is vital in the early stages of new employee onboarding and training because it jump-starts good habits and work ethics.
Tip: Assign the new employee tasks that are open to interpretation and creativity. Most likely, the new employee will seek out clarification on the tasks, in which case the manager can insist they trust the employee to get the job done. Then, when the employee completes the task, use positive feedback to reinforce the trust you placed in them.
2. Keep New Employees Accountable
As previously mentioned, trust leads to accountability, and accountability leads to higher engagement, and that leads to better performance – see where this is going? Check this out: According to a recent study from by Gallup, “At least two-thirds of employees who strongly agree that their manager helps them set work priorities (66 percent) and performance goals (69 percent) are engaged in their work.”
And it doesn’t stop there: According to a Harvard Business Review article, employees who feel their managers are aware of the tasks and projects they are working on are seven times more likely to be engaged. What this means for managers is they have to remain involved in the day-to-day tasks of their people, especially new hires, and work to prioritize performance management, starting during new employee onboarding.
Tip: Managers can show new employees they are aware of their tasks and projects by checking in every week or so. The exchange doesn’t even have to include feedback necessarily – just a simple recognition of what the person is working toward.
3. Keep Yourself Accountable
Did you know that 70 percent of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership aren’t fully engaged at work? It makes sense if we think about how integral trust is to keeping employees happy and engaged. Managers must demonstrate the utmost integrity and own their actions, whether outcomes are positive or negative. Today’s workforce wants transparency, so managers should give it to them.
Tip: Just as managers expect employees to be accountable, employees want the same in return from managers. So, if a manager says they’re going to check in with a new employee every day or week, they had better follow through. And when a project that was facilitated by the manager fails, they should avoid placing blame on people and simply own up to the mistake. That is part of the job.
4. Remember to Act Human
It’s important to keep things professional in the workplace, but it’s just as important to devote ourselves to our work relationships. To allow strong relationships to flourish, we have to put some personal touches on our conduct in workplace. New employees want strong leaders, but they also want leaders to whom they can relate and round whom they feel comfortable. Building trust is a very human and personal action, and it should be handled as such.
Tip: When managers are interacting with new employees, they should make it a point to ask them appropriate personal questions that shine a light on their lives outside of work. Referencing these things in future conversations will show the employee that you listened to them and have taken their personal life into consideration. Then, when things comes up or their work is suffering, they’ll feel comfortable sharing those things with you and work to remedy them.
5. Keep Lines of Communication Open
This one cannot be stressed enough. To build any trust with employees, communication has to be frequent, ongoing, and a two-way street. This is something all employees, not just new ones, want. In fact, the 2015 Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey found that 68 percent of millennial and Gen. X workers said that the frequency of communication from their employers directly impacts their job satisfaction.
Tip: Managers should work to increase communication frequency to at least one interaction per week or biweekly. During the onboarding process, interacting more than once per week is ideal. New employees should be encouraged to come to managers with any concerns, and managers need to make themselves available for that to happen.
Building trust during new employee onboarding may not always be the first thing managers think to prioritize, but they would be wise to change that. The impact relationships have on employee performance is undeniable, and it’s important that managers instill in employees during the onboarding process the kind of work ethic it takes to keep the company culture on steady ground.