Building a Culture of Trust

By Shereen Shabnam

Over the last two decades in UAE, every project I took was built on a culture of trust. For years I have not written a CV for myself or done a pitch document because in this part of the world, word of mouth takes you a long way if you do meaningful work. A lot is based on trust and as a content provider, most of my clients are my past employers or are referred to me by them.

In my own business ventures, I work with very few people and my friends remain a handful from the last 20 years as the trust factor is key to an agency’s success. Although my team are made up of family members and friends, it is easy to empower and challenge them because they have a strong connection to their work and are productive contributors to projects that lead to positive outcomes for our clients and their organizations.

When work is done with professionals who are also passionate about the work they do, building a culture of trust is easy. The rewards lead to higher productivity, better-quality outcomes and increased profitability.

Creating an employee-centric culture is good for an agency, business and it leads to higher job satisfaction, talent retention and overall performance. Clients today trust agencies that are more productive and collaborate better with their inhouse teams because of the positive energy around.

Company culture affects performance and the first step for employers is to recognize excellence. Public recognition empowers the talented staff and leads to teams celebrating successes collectively as top performers become more open to sharing best practices.

Giving staff discretion in how they do their work also adds to the culture of building trust.  Train your staff whenever possible but let them execute projects in their own way thereafter, as being trusted to figure things out for themselves is a big motivator.

Trust is also strengthened when the company and teams share information broadly so everyone is well informed about their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. This leads to building relationships, especially if information is shared at company events, peer lunches, after-work parties, and team-building activities.

Workplaces that cultivate trust amongst stake holders and teams also help people develop personally as well as professionally with discussions about work-life integration and personal strengths and goals.

The best way to cultivate trust is by setting a clear direction, giving staff what they need to accomplish tasks and letting them do it without micromanaging them. Cultivating an environment of trust works across all spectrums of an organisation.

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