Spying on Your Staff – Is It Worth It?

You’ve probably heard of the famous saying “it takes two to tango” and this is no different for the dance of trust. According to a recent Forbes article, 59% of people say they will not trust somebody until they have proven why they should be trusted. One person is wanting to be trusted and the other has to give their trust. Leaders should fall into the other 41% and be the ones to lead the dance, to make the first move and to put their trust in someone until they prove them wrong. When this risk pays off, it is likely to trigger the opportunity for a high trust culture throughout an entire organisation.

However, this trust with employees can easily be broken. As many people continue to work from home or have adopted hybrid working, many have lost that human connection with their team. By interacting virtually, colleagues can miss that all-important body language and nuance in voice, which can lead to misinterpreting one another. This can undermine trust within a team dramatically. In another Forbes article, it is stated that a whopping 78% of employers are digitally surveying their staff as they work from home, meaning many organisations are at risk of breaking the trust between them and their employees. Technology has allowed employers to monitor their employees closer than ever before and, despite most knowing that this is ethically wrong, the temptation is most certainly there. They are willing to let go of the trust they have built to feel in control.

Getting around this new(ish) way of work and maintaining trust can be quite simple. Referring back to the 78% of employers who monitor their staff, this statistic means that 22% of employers trust their staff. This is likely as they have built a “results only” work environment. This is the idea that activity is not necessarily monitored but the outcome is what is measured. As long as the employee is delivering results consistently and they contribute to the organisation’s goals, it doesn’t matter if they don’t start work until 1pm or they work through the night.

Leaders should be open and direct with their communication to earn their employee’s trust. They know exactly where they stand in the organisation as an employee and as an individual with values. By allowing managers and staff to do their jobs and creating a safe space for constructive debate, leaders are able to normalise and champion trust in the workplace. In a time where trust needs to be earned, it’s important to remember that it takes time, effort and consistency to build but can be broken in an instant. What are you and your leaders doing to build trust in the new world of work?