Every article, list, and blog about great workplace perks tries to paint a picture of a scenic country club, filled with genius overachievers, enjoying pumpkin spice lattes while getting free massages. For those of us who work in reality, I am interested in discussing a perk that genuinely motivates and rewards. The goal of a manager is to build and provide a trusting environment where employees are incentivized to achieve and exceed target objectives while providing coaching when needed and recognition when deserved.
I’ve always aimed to earn the trust of the people I work with each day. This intangible perk won’t show up on any ‘Top 10’ list, but it is core to individual and team success. Trust creates an important dynamic of a positive atmosphere; individual opportunity for success. Empowering an employee to achieve individual objectives without constant, overbearing management is a benefit I’ve always enjoyed. I manage my team based on their demonstrated strengths and weaknesses; while analyzing the likelihood for success on tasks and projects. Productivity is increased when an individual is given the freedom to determine solutions and strategies with the guidance of experienced and accessible leadership. The employee knows that manager will provide correction when needed and the manager can delegate and lead. The necessary level of communication will naturally occur when managers and employees achieve the appropriate level of trust between objectives, abilities, and results.
Why Trust is Important
A trusting team dynamic will ensure that employees will be recognized accurately based on results. Failing to meet an intended target can uncover opportunities to improve future performance. I prefer to receive prompt, direct feedback when my results don’t exceed expectations. I trust my managers will provide constructive steps to help identify and resolve missteps. I use the same philosophy with my team. An open dialogue on areas for further development enables employees to increase the level of performance. I trust my employees want to achieve at the highest level possible and, in turn, they trust I will operate on their behalf to help exceeds those targets.
How to Build Trust
As a manager, it is critical to recognize your high performing team members. Consistent and constructive feedback at all levels builds the trust employees have in their managers and in the company overall. Finding ways to reward employees outside of traditional perks becomes an excellent tool for a manager. Recognition is the starting point – a handwritten note or public praise make sure the employee knows the behavior and result that warranted a reward. Additional flexibility in schedule, the privilege to work from home, and empathy to personal situations is a great way to build on that foundation of trust with an employee.
The Benefits of a Trusting Manager/Employee Relationship
Not only will trustworthy relationships at work make for a more comfortable, rewarding office atmosphere, they also drive results. When employees have solid relationships with their managers, it creates a pattern of success that motivates them and ultimately encourages them to produce at a higher level consistently. By the same token, managers can operate in a more efficient way if they can trust their staff. Managers are able to confidently delegate work and have honest conversations about workload. Establishing trust means employees aren’t scared to tell you when they’re overwhelmed, when they need help, and even when they’re unhappy at work – without fear of negative consequences. While it may take time to develop this level of understanding and empathy with your team, it is a priceless asset that allows you to better serve your employees. You’ll be able to provide the support they need to be successful and keep them engaged in their role. When managers gain a high level of trust with their employees, work product improves, morale is better, and all parties are happier.
For me, the ultimate perk is something that drives results and shows appreciation. I’ve been fortunate to work with people who put their faith in me to consistently deliver at a high level. I’ve been rewarded with flexibility and opportunity to further contribute in areas I have interest in within my organization. As I’ve built and developed teams, I’ve used this type of trust as a fundamental piece of my working relationship with everyone I support. I can live without the fantasyland benefits – I don’t even drink lattes. I just need a manager I can believe in and a team who knows we’re working together towards a shared goal – and I think a lot of employees would agree.
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Andrew Curtis is a Product Specialists Manager for iCIMS, Inc., the leading provider of talent acquisition software for growing businesses. iCIMS innovative software solutions enable HR professionals to effortlessly manage their organization’s pre-hire processes from start to finish. By delivering easy-to-use talent acquisition portals, customized dashboards, and cost-effective hiring tools, iCIMS can seamlessly improve your recruiting and onboarding processes. Andrew can be reached at Andrew.Curtis@icims.com.