Before you create your next employee engagement strategy find out if your employees trust you. Without trust an engagement strategy is futile.
Trust is being able to express yourself freely, openly, and without hesitation, because you feel protected and safe from having to experience shame, physical harm, hurt, or guilt. Now think about the people in your life. Using this definition of trust, where do people in your life fall on your trust curve? We all have a trust curve, and we put everyone we know somewhere on it. That also means you’re on everyone else’s trust curve.
At the beginning of any interaction most people put others at the bottom of their trust curve—indicating that trust, in most people’s minds, is earned. Then, through “feel good” experiences, you move people up your trust curve. The more you feel able to express yourself freely, openly, and without hesitation, because you feel protected and safe when you’re around that person, that person may even make it to the top of your trust curve, with the people you would do whatever it takes to help, support, and ensure their success. It feels amazing when you’re at the top of someone’s trust curve, and it feels unbelievably fantastic when two people are at the top of each others’ trust curve simultaneously—the ultimate relationship of any kind. The people at the top of our trust curve are the people who fuel us with healthy energy, and who receive healthy energy from us.
The opposite is also true. We all have people in our lives whom we don’t feel safe and protected around when it comes to expressing ourselves freely, openly, and without hesitation. We have people in our lives who stir the fear of shame, physical harm, hurt, or guilt within us. These people are at the bottom of our trust curve, and we are cautious, consciously or subconsciously, about doing anything for these people. These are the people who deplete our good energy, fill us with toxic energy, and receive unhealthy energy from us.
People’s trust curves go with them everywhere. There are no exceptions, especially in business. Businesses that have a healthy culture are placed high on people’s trust curve. The higher the business is placed on an individual’s trust curve, the stronger the culture. There’s a direct correlation. The goal of the business should always be optimal placement on everyone’s trust curve, because then, and only then, are people expressing their ideas freely, openly, and without hesitation. Then and only then is employee engagement an attainable for the business.
Here’s a quick assessment that you can give your employees to find out their level of trust in the business and its leaders. The following are the twelve trust curve statements. The platform question is, “What percentage of time are these statements true?” Simply average the response percentages to identify where your business is on the trust curve.
- My leader’s behaviors help me feel as though I can express my ideas freely, openly, and without hesitation.
- The business’s processes and systems help me to feel as though I can express my ideas freely, openly, and without hesitation.
- What my leader tells me is always true.
- The information the business communicates is always true.
- My leader and the business have my best interests in mind anytime decisions are made.
- My leader listens to me, and I know my leader hears what I say because he or she responds with genuine questions, comments, or beneficial concerns.
- My leader and the business always make me feel supported, and help me to know that I add value. I know this to be true because following up with commitments made is a priority that is always attained.
- The business environment allows me to freely make decisions, take care of clients, and implement new ideas in my own unique way.
- Every leader in the business shows compassion. The business leaders genuinely empathize with others, and show sympathy with authenticity.
- The business environment makes me feel safe and protected emotionally; I completely trust that my leader’s response to my ideas will not cause me to feel shame, hurt, or guilt.
- The business environment makes me feel safe and protected physically.
- I trust that I can be my true self within the business, and that all leaders and peers genuinely respect my true self in the business.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.