The trust deficit between workers and organizations isn’t personal. It’s systemic.

We have a new essay published by Deloitte InsightsThe trust deficit between workers and organizations isn’t personal. It’s systemic.1 Trust is widely acknowledged as a key contributor to workplace performance. What is rarely acknowledged, however, is that there are both interpersonal and organisational aspects to trust. While the interpersonal trust between a manager and their subordinates is important, what is likely more important is how workers trust managers as representatives of the firm’s bureaucracy.

The essay discusses the systemic trust deficit between workers and organizations, particularly in the context of workplace monitoring. It highlights the use of tools like mouse jigglers to create the illusion of activity and productivity to counter workplace monitoring software. This behaviour stems from deeper issues caused by organizational dysfunctions in policies, processes, and practices.

The essay points out that despite good intentions, workplace monitoring tools have led to a dystopian direction, eroding trust between employers and employees. It discusses the rise of behaviours like “quiet quitting” and “loud quitting,” where employees disengage or undermine organizational goals due to excessive monitoring.

The importance of trust in the workplace is emphasized, both on an interpersonal and organizational level. The focus shifts to the need for organizational trust rather than just interpersonal trust, acknowledging that workers trust managers as extensions of the organization. The collective experiences of colleagues also play a role in shaping trust levels.

The essay suggests that organizations should foster trust by becoming trustworthy. This involves creating environments that empower workers to be productive and transparently sharing information. It encourages organizations to re-evaluate their values and align them with actual practices. Executives should lead by example and involve workers in policy and process development to create a culture of collaboration and trust.

The correlation between trust and productivity is explored, revealing that organizational trust is built on a foundation of productivity and support. Trust is seen as a result of a productive and fulfilling work environment rather than a cause of it.In conclusion, the essay calls for a shift in focus from monitoring and compliance to building organizations that can be trusted. By creating transparent and supportive environments, organizations can foster trust and enhance both productivity and employee well-being.