– Almost all HR professionals hear the common complaint that employees perceive a lack of responsiveness from HR. It’s essential for HR teams to improve the time it takes to respond to employee inquiries. Talk with your team, and determine what reasonable response times are for your team to reply to employees. Set the expectation on your team that if they receive an email that they don’t have the answer to, that they will send a response email stating they will look into it and follow up shortly. Doing this will build confidence in the employees that you recognize the urgency of their requests, and that their needs are being heard.
Have Follow Through
– Along the same lines of responsiveness, if you fail to follow through on a task that an employee requested, trust can be lost. Always do what you say you are going to do and show accountability. When you receive a request, and have established timelines, be sure to follow through. If something is delaying the expected delivery date, let the requestor know as soon as possible. If you allow time to lapse with no follow through, and the expected delivery date passes, the trust will break in the relationship you are trying to build. If you say you’re going to do something, just do it. Having follow through and seeing tasks through to completion will show that you respect the requestor, and you are reliable for them when they need it.
Show respect in meetings
– Don’t let technology or other people interrupt your conversations. In meetings, put your phone away and be engaged. If you are having a one on one, set your status to Busy and don’t take calls, respond to a text, or get up to talk to a colleague. If you do, you have broken the process of trust-building and communicated that other things are more important than the person you are talking to. Being fully present and engaged will help now and opportunities in the future.
Develop strong listening skills
– Almost every definition of trust includes the willingness of active and effective listening. If your company sends out surveys, are you taking the time to dig in on the issues that are continually coming up? If you read reviews on Glassdoor, is there a common theme that is rising? Are you addressing these issues with your employees and acknowledging them? Most employees want to feel that they have the opportunity to openly and freely voice their concerns and that HR will listen and effectively respond to them. Don’t ignore concerns that are being given.
Be more proactive in communications
– Rather than hiding the impact a change may have on employees, be transparent. If you foresee employees potentially having a huge fallout from a change that will be coming, be proactive and not reactive. Do not wait for it to explode before action is taken. Proactively communicate with your employees using multiple approaches ( email, meetings, message boards) and let them know that the organization understands there may be potential concerns. Try to keep “surprise announcements” to a minimum, and if possible, provide continuous updates. However, also make it clear to your employees that there are some things within the HR Realm that HR must and will keep secret to protect them and you.
Transparency is now a requirement
– It’s safe to assume that most employees expect and request transparency. Now days things can be shared through social media, email, and message boards. What this means for HR is that they should provide detailed information on company goals, why certain policies are in place and why they are necessary and how the HR team operates. Transparency is a respected attribute in leaders, and reinforces that the company trusts their employees to get the job done.
Fully explain the role of HR
– Some employees automatically assume that the role of HR is that of Toby from the office. (Insert pun here). To help start reversing this viewpoint, explain the role of HR, and the goals for the company and team during onboarding. HR strives to act as a neutral party for employees, let the managers know that they are there to support their goals and helping employees reach success in their roles.
Help increase productivity by building trust
– HR can be an area to help improve productivity and development and be a learning center for employees. That means, rather than HR only focusing exclusively on policies and employee issues, HR Teams should spend much of their time helping employees and managers be more effective and productive. Train managers to manage their employees effectively. Meet regularly with managers that each HR Professional support and come up with development plans for their team. Employees who are supported and developed by their managers are more likely to perform, be rewarded and will have a high sense of trust in the organization.