85% of workers believe a trustworthy boss is essential for their success at work, but 25% don’t trust their bosses as much as they did a year ago, according to Interaction Associates’ 2014 Building Workplace Trust survey.
The state of the New Zealand workplace doesn’t look too flash either. Statistics NZ reports that 17% of all permanent employees in 2012 thought the chance of losing their jobs in the next 12 months was medium, high, or almost certain.
What does a trustworthy company look like?
In order to maintain a healthy trajectory, companies need to create open, honest, and trustworthy workplaces, and value the people who work for them. That’s precisely what VTNZ Chief Executive Mike Walsh has done and the rewards are being reaped..
“The skills, ability and passion of our people are our future. Without them we don't have a business.”
Walsh attributes VTNZ’s 2014 IBM Kenexa Best Workplace win to caring for his staff.
“We try to create an environment where our people feel valued, are rewarded for what they do, and have the opportunity to increase their knowledge through ongoing training.”
GrabOne Managing Director Ryan Watkins agrees. “The things you do for people on top of what you pay them is generally the most appreciated. Every department at GrabOne has their own targets and incentives, and we constantly communicate and celebrate our successes.”
Watkins says that his staff’s pride is boosted by the knowledge that their work makes a difference.
“GrabOne injects a significant amount of money into SMEs all over New Zealand,” he says. “It’s awesome to know that our company drives new customers to that small café in Tauranga, and helps that fishing charter keep their guys employed during their downtime.”
Walsh agrees. “Customers often tell us that after getting a safety repair after visiting VTNZ, their vehicle has been involved in a near-miss accident and that repair was critical in avoiding a serious crash,” he says. “This feedback sends a very positive message throughout our organisation.”
Trust comes from the top down
Walsh also believes that open, authentic, and visible leadership is essential in maintaining trust. VTNZ’s management team regularly engages with staff and customers, which provides a human face to leadership.
And it’s not just about success either. “I also make sure we admit our mistakes early as this encourages a more open environment,” he adds.
Watkins says GrabOne has a similar approach to leadership. “We’re very open-plan, both in office layout and leadership structure. Everyone’s accessible. A lot of our ideas come from the people working on the floor. You don’t want to have a system where people are afraid to voice ideas or opinions.”
“Our values – give a shit, we can fix it, and leave your ego at the door – underpin everything we do,” says Watkins. “But values are worthless unless you trust people to live them. Values shouldn’t be the foundation; it should be trust in the people.”