How SME’s can Build Trust at Work

If you’re a small business leader, repeat after us: “There is no greater asset to my company than my employees.” You may already know this, but the next step is realizing that unengaged employees are a huge risk for your company—one a small business can’t risk taking. For example, a Hay Group Study found that “companies with fully engaged employees produced 2.5x as much revenue as companies struggling with low levels of engagement”. This type of revenue increase (or loss) could make or break a small business.

If you run a business with less than 1,000 employees, here’s How to make sure every single one of your employees is happy (to be doing their best work for you):

1. Realize why they came to your company
Start by building trust in the workplace. Most people who sign on to work for a smaller business (and skip the perks of working for a large company, including possible better job security and promotion opportunities) want to be trusted at work to do their jobs with limited oversight, according to Dale Carnegie Training research. So make sure your employees know that there is help for them (in the form of mentoring opportunities, an open door policy, and regular check in meetings) but then let them do the job you hired them to do. If you need to alter their course, ask questions rather than giving direct orders, and let your employees find their own solutions.

2. Show them how they’re contributing
Employees who choose to work at a smaller company want to see what comes of the effort they put in. So if you use an entry-level marketing assistant to proofread a speech you’re giving to a major industry conference, consider bringing him along (or at the very least, sending him a video of the speech with a short thank you for his involvement in the final product). This is a way of including employees in the end result while also building trust in the workplace.

3. Focus on what you can give them—not what you can’t
As a small business, it’s possible that you can’t create a formal promotion track or compete with job perks like tuition reimbursement. But you can be progressive in offering ways for employees to find that allusive life work balance, by implementing flexible schedule opportunities across the board. Sure, you might not be able to offer 7 months of maternity leave-but you can make your workplace family-friendly by offering parents the opportunity to work at home or job-share.

4. Vary their responsibilities
When you’re managing a small business, it can be easy to let people stay in the same roles—why fix what ain’t broke, right? Just because people are good at what they do, and have done it for a long time, doesn’t mean they’re content doing just that. Talk to all of your employees on a regular basis and see if they’re interested in taking on more responsibilities. Varying responsibilities is a win-win situation as it increases trust at work and empowers the employee. Better to learn that now rather than wait until they take another job offer and learn it then, right?

5. Provide training
Sure, it may not be possible to put together an in-house training program with staffers solely dedicated to training. But outsourcing leadership and communications training to Dale Carnegie Training will help all of your employees, from managers to entry-level personnel, not only increase their own productivity, but also their engagement. And the effects will continue between trainings. Internally, you can also form mentoring programs where senior staffers work with junior members to increase productivity, communication and prevent turnover.

For more ideas to engage your staff download 50 Employee Engagement Tips and Ideas