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Trust is the key to well-being and performance

Trust between employers and their employees is vital in creating a high-performance work culture, according to a report published today.

It revealed that distrust leads to dysfunctional relationships, which slow down every interaction with a direct economic impact.

The report states it is easy to know whether an employee is engaged and has a sense of trust in the workplace, but is much harder to understand what drives trust and how it builds engagement, motivation and improves wellbeing.

The report, Trust: the key to building well-being and performance in the workplace, was prepared by work/life balance organisation Working Families, leadership and engagement specialist Susanne Jacobs and in partnership with income protection firm Unum.

Unum HR director Linda Smith explained, said the unprecedented changes in the workplace over the past 30 years, meant businesses needed to be smarter than ever about how they hire, develop and retain talent.

The report shows that any effective strategy needs to deliver an integrated approach that focuses on the issue of trust, she said.

The report states there are "eight intrinsic drivers of trust" - that must be addressed to drive trust and improve performance:


  • Belong and connect: The feeling that the employee is a part of and their team and organisation.
  • Voice and recognition: The individual's ability to speak up in a way that allows them to influence decisions.
  • Significance and position: The employees sense that they have a clear and important role in their team.
  • Fairness: The understanding that individuals are evenly treated within their team and organisation.
  • Learn and challenge: The opportunity to learn and master new skills and achieve results.
  • Choice and autonomy: The sense of control over workplace delivery.
  • Security and certainty: The sense of predictability and confidence in the workplace.
  • Purpose: The understanding of how an individual's role contributes and to the team and organisation's success.

The study also examined the importance and influence of external factors to wellbeing, such as work-life integration, workload and flexible working.

It found work/life integration supported by flexible-working, in particular, is shown to provide a significant boost to operational performance.

"It is clear that the external contributing factors of flexible working and work life integration are linked strongly to 'choice and autonomy', which is a key driver of workplace trust," said Sarah Jackson chief executive of Working Families.

"Employers who build this flexible culture of trust will in turn reap the rewards of employee well-being and sustainable high performance."