“If you want to demotivate your team and decrease productivity, all you have to do is stop trusting them.”
One of the things I am most proud of at FrogSlayer is our culture. It’s the reason this company exists. We wanted to create a place where the best software professionals want to work, while taking on the most challenging and interesting projects we could find. So when The Resumator asked if I would like to share why I was passionate about building trust in the workplace, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Our organization has evolved into something where everyone enjoys a lot of individual freedom, but at the same time, each person is fully committed to their team. We’ve never seen anyone try to abuse the freedoms that come with their job. Most of this has been driven by an effort to always be transparent with each other and our clients (by maintaining open, honest, and candid communication). This type of open communication has given everyone a degree of accountability, both as an individual and as a team. People really started to own their own experience. I think this is the reason our people have been able to really operate at a high-level, even with more freedom and autonomy than they could get elsewhere.
Here is a recap of what I discussed in this webinar and if you would like to go more in depth on the topic of building trust in the workplace, you can watch the webinar below.
How To Build Trust in the Workplace:
- Engage Your Employees – The most common mistakes managers make that destroy trust with their employees are micro-managing their people, overpromising, not respecting people’s time, losing their temper, holding themselves on a pedestal, not giving credit, watching the clock and implementing strict policies. This list could go on and on. When your employees see that you care about their needs and that you are supporting them, they become more engaged in helping the team win.
- Let Employees Have A Voice – When employees feel they can voice their opinion about the direction the business is headed, who is hired, the type of work the company chooses to do, etc., you have instant buy-in from them and create a real sense of alignment. More so than if you tell your employees, “This is where we’re headed and this is what you’re going to be working on; get in line or move on.”
- Hire The Right People – What do I mean by this? It’s important that you figure out what people thrive in your work environment and will align with your company’s values and goals. At FrogSlayer, we have ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment). We found that programmers who really thrived in our environment had side projects they were working on. Programming wasn’t just their job; it was their hobby. We also found that this applied to non-programmers in our company as well. The people who were passionate about their field, from marketing to sales to design, were involved in passion projects of their own outside of work. Hiring these type of people (programmers and non-programmers) made it easier to establish trust because we were all aligned in how we wanted to accomplish our goals as a company.
- Try Collaborative Hiring – Collaborative hiring truly began organically within our company. I believe that our people should really have a say in who they work with and who they work for. Does this mean all of your employees need to review every resume that comes across your desk or pops up in your inbox? No. However, when you start to narrow down your choices, talk to the employees this person would end up working with. Let them give input. Even before you start looking, let the employees give input on what characteristics you should be looking for in a candidate. Since we’ve started collaborating on who we hire, the process has become much easier and the employees are happier knowing they have a say in who becomes a part of their team.
- Tap Into Creativity with Passion Projects – As I said before, we noticed that those who thrived well in our work environment were passionate about their field outside of work. We decided to embrace this and allow our employees to spend their downtime between client projects on their own passion project. Over the course of a year, they spend about 15-20% of their time working on side projects. I think this sends a very clear message to our people that we trust them to take ownership of their professional development and we trust them to use this time in a way that will improve their skills and, in turn, our business.
- Relax the Rules - We’ve always had a saying at FrogSlayer: Our discussions on rules are many, but our policies our few. If we’re ever in doubt about something, we always fall back on our values. Most rules in organizations come in the form of process, but we believe the best way to establish trust in the workplace is to create autonomy. Instead of prescribing to a rigid process or checklists, define a framework. A framework we’ve adopted at FrogSlayer is Scrum. Scrum is a framework that encourages teams to be self-organizing and self-managing by relying on frequent feedback loops to keep teams aligned. The main goal here is to create a cadence of regular feedback, while letting the people implementing the work have autonomy to make decisions at a lower-level.
I would love to hear your input on how to build trust in the workplace. Leave a comment below.