Transparency & Trust

transparency and trust

Why do I say that TRANSPARENCY AND TRUST is the only way, and the only way for what? Simply put, transparency and trust is the only way for businesses to bridge existing gaps of distrust, to eliminate bias, prejudices, discrimination in any form, and to ensure that sustainability, longevity and success is afforded to all.

Transparency is not practiced nearly enough in the workplace. There are covert meetings, unscrupulous business dealings, and unfair treatment of employees. Bullying, sexual harassment, racism, forced labor and other degenerate behaviors are rampant in the workplace. Who deals with this, especially when it is from the top-down?

A workplace survey from a group of junior analysts at Goldman Sachs shows that some first year bankers say they are working more than 95 hours a week on average. On top of that, they are sleeping just five hours a night and enduring workplace abuse. Most of them say their mental health has deteriorated significantly since they started working at the investment bank (CNN 2021.03.19). It will be interesting to see just how transparent Goldman Sachs will be in dealing with this.

Fear obliterates transparency in the workplace.

I am proud that the Goldman Sachs employees have spoken up. But at what cost? Did they get to a point of ‘this far, no further’? And why was this never dealt with by management in the first place? Is it acceptable because ‘it has always been like this for first year bankers’?

We chose a career because we love a certain idea in our heads, only to have that picture we have painted for ourselves, be obliterated by the harsh cold reality of fear, the lust for power and money and greed.

Not all that glitters is gold. Not everything you see is as it seems. You need to dig a bit deeper, peel  back the layers of deceit, and shine the light of transparency on the inner workings of the workplace.

Only when this changes, can trust truly emerge. It is possible, but will greed, power lust, and deceit keep employees entrapped in an environment that serves only the few unscrupulous ones?

I understand how difficult it is for employers during the Covid pandemic, when they had to trust that their employees were working the normal hours at home. Employees had to set up make shift home offices, with many distractions around them. Kids not understanding that your employee is trying to work under challenging circumstances, and the employee surrounded by the all too familiar comforts of home. While this paints a not so pretty picture, it does highlight an issue which is worth taking note of. While the employer might not be trusting the employee to work from home, how is the employee feeling towards their employer and colleagues?

Under better circumstances, trust begets trust; at the moment, experts are finding that the reverse is true. The current lack of in-person interactions which normally bolsters professional relationships, there is now more room to make negative, often unfounded, assumptions about our colleagues’ behaviors. And many managers are not equipped to manage remote teams, causing them to fall into the trap of micro-management. This has created a cycle of virtual workplace distrust that is further complicated by pandemic fatigue and mental health issues brought on by an extended period of uncertainty.

This distrust is not something you can wish away, once the pandemic subsides, especially since some businesses are considering considering adopting new models, from hybrid systems to a different kind of work week. The consequence of distrust is huge, including diminished productivity, innovation and motivation. But there are steps we can take to effectively build and repair trust, even from afar. There is not a one-size-fits-all process to build remote working relationships.

There are two types of trust: competence trust (relates to pure professional ability), and interpersonal trust (based on human connection and integrity). There are also two types of trust personalities: automatic trusters (gives the benefit of the doubt until trust is broken), and evidence-based trusters (only trust when given adequate reason to do so).

To build real trust, businesses will need to upskill in inclusive leadership, especially now with remote working, where employees are more likely to feel disconnected. Employees need to feel included, remembered and heard, even when not in-person. Research shows that managers who show employees support and appreciation will foster more trust, and be better trusted in return.