Employee Experience

Trust: Make Life at Work More Joyful

16 February 2023

Would you class your workplace as a 'high-trust organisation'? Is trust something you've considered recently? The cost-of-living crisis and war for talent are keeping us busy, but we shouldn't overlook the power of trust. Read on to discover why trust matters and how you can embed it into your business.

“Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.” Harvard Business Review


This week we’re focusing on employee relationships and how to build and nurture trust – a crucial element of any successful partnership or relationship. The Harvard Business Review study quoted above is an interesting read, proving the link between how trustworthy a person is and how likely they are to trust a stranger based on their oxytocin levels. 


Since oxytocin is a bonding and loving hormone, it makes sense that those with higher levels of oxytocin have a more positive and trusting outlook.


Why is trust important?


You may wonder if trust matters in the workplace or believe that people come in, do their job, follow the rules, meet their goals, and all is fine.


That’s not the case. 


Happiness at work matters, and it’s clear that oxytocin is linked to happiness. If oxytocin is also related to trust, it makes sense that trust in the workplace breeds happiness, engagement, and a positive environment.


In their article, The Neuroscience of TrustThe Harvard Business Review states that employees in a high trust business report:


  • 74% less stress

  • 50% higher productivity

  • 13% fewer sick days

  • 76% more engagement

  • 40% less burnout.


All these elements boost employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity, bringing a measurable ROI to the business.




Siloed working is common in businesses, especially with the rise in hybrid and remote working, because there is less cross-team interaction. Siloes can lead to information hoarding and impact productivity.


Collaboration is essential but doesn’t always happen naturally and must be formed from a foundation of trust. Once you've established trust, you’ll see increased creativity, innovation, engagement, and happiness.


Nurturing autonomy


When employers and managers encourage autonomy, happiness increases because employees feel empowered to make creative decisions. It shows an employee that a manager trusts their skills and talent.


When employees feel like their opinions will be validated and listened to, they’re more likely to participate in meetings, brainstorming sessions and squad-based working. According to Pink’s motivational theories, autonomy is one of the three drivers of motivation.


Conflict resolution


Workplace conflict will always arise, even in the most collaborative organisations. Opinions differ, and healthy debate can lead to some of the best business outcomes.


Challenge, in a trusting, autonomous environment is essential for success. Conflict, on the other hand, has many negative impacts.


When conflicts arise, if the groundwork of trust has already been established between colleagues and managers, those involved are more likely to reach a resolution. However, if the conflict does escalate, your employees must trust that managerial intervention will follow and the situation will be handled fairly.


Establishing trust in the workplace 


We’ve established the benefits of trust; let’s explore ways to build and embed it within your business.


Organisations can build a culture of trust through the following:


  • Well-trained and empathetic managers

  • An inclusive and personalised reward and recognition strategy

  • Embedding a robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy

  • Sharing information on pay equality

  • Publishing a whistleblowing policy

  • Holding regular business reviews

  • Acting on employee feedback.


If you’re unsure whether there’s a strong culture of trust within your organisation, there are ways to measure it, the first being to run an internal, anonymous survey.


Some areas to be explored are as follows:


  • How employees feel about communication from senior leaders

  • Whether employees feel they can raise concerns to managers

  • Whether employees feel they can talk openly about personal matters

  • Whether employees feel their efforts and achievements are fairly rewarded

  • Whether there are clear progression and development opportunities

  • Whether employees feel that the business is transparent.

You could add more and run a survey with your customers alongside this, as customer satisfaction scores also paint a picture of how your business operates.


Fair & inclusive rewards


We’ve established that many different elements lead to a culture of trust, and fair recognition is one of them. This starts with how you define the behaviours and actions worthy of an award.


Historically, targets were defined by meeting sales targets, KPIs – anything you can measure in numbers. Whilst these are still worthy of reward, not all functions will operate this way.


Here at Pluxee UK, we’ve established three core values used as a basis to reward excellence: Team Spirit, Service Spirit, and Spirit of Progress. These values drive everything we do, and employees and managers are encouraged to nominate each other for recognition when they feel they’ve gone above and beyond.


Once you’ve established your recognition policy, consider how you will offer a reward. In the spirit of fairness, allowing employees to choose their own reward goes a long way toward building trust.


Our Pluxee eVouchers can be spent online and in-store at over 150 retailers. With over 80 brands to choose from, your employees will be able to find the ideal gift for them.


Take rewards to the next level by embedding a Pluxee Card into your strategy. Gift the card to all employees, and then when it’s time to deliver their cash reward or bonus, you can add it to the card. They can spend it as they wish. This is a versatile offering because you can also use it as an employee benefit. Opt for the cashback option, and your employees earn up to 15% cashback when they spend with participating retailers, stretching their salaries further.


Reap the benefits of a culture of trust with Pluxee UK


When you trust your employees, and that trust is reciprocated, great things can happen.

Trust can be hard to establish and easy to destroy, so there is no half-measure. Once you’ve taken steps to embed trust, you need to continue to enforce them by operating openly, with integrity and in fairness.


Pluxee UK has been supporting employers for over 60 years, and we continue to make it our mission to help you help your people succeed. Contact an employee wellbeing expert today for more information.