Trust in Business: Quantifying What Matters Most
Trust is a critical factor in any business. It is the glue that holds together relationships between customers, employees, partners, and shareholders. When trust is present, people are more likely to engage with a company, purchase its products, and tell their friends about it. Trust is evident in a business by looking at its success, and just as evident when it is lacking in a business. Trust is essential, and though one might think it's impossible to measure, it is very possible. Today's blog is about trust in business and how to measure it.
Defining Trust in Business
Trust in business is the foundation for success. You, your teams, and your business cannot thrive without it. There are five pillars of trust, both in life in general and in business. These pillars are Transparency, Consistency, Authenticity, Credibility, and Competency. Each of these qualities can stand alone outside of trust, but trust cannot stand alone outside of these qualities. Transparency is being honest and open in all communication and every interaction. Transparency is also having the humility to admit mistakes, especially as leaders.
Consistency is a repeated pattern of behaviours that align with your beliefs and values, as both an individual and a business. It is showing up On Time, On Target every time you execute a task. Consistency builds trust because people feel safe in building expectations for your business, knowing you'll deliver every time. Authenticity is all about character as a brand, business, and individual. An authentic leader maintains the same integrity and character, both on and off, the playing field. Authenticity flows through business, from the top to the bottom.
Credibility reflects through genuine qualities, and proving yourself as a business and as a leader to pull through every time. When words align with actions, credibility is born…but remember it takes a lifetime to build, and a second to break. Competency is the quality of execution on every task, product, and service. Competency begins in teams, and then it flows onto the products and services your business provides.
Why Does Trust Matter?
Trust matters because it has a direct and powerful influence on the financial and overall health of your organisation. Trust is what ensures that your teams can work together effectively, to deliver great results on every project, product, and task. When trust is present within a business, people are much more likely to want to share, collaborate, and support each other. And beyond internal relationships and equally as important, trust is what brings people to your business and keeps them engaged and involved.
Trust matters, because when it isn't there, things fall apart. Cohesion, teamwork, and productivity lessen among employees, making it incredibly difficult to get things done to the high standard businesses should be aiming for. When trust is lacking, customers stop buying products or hiring your services.
Logically, it makes sense right? High trust = Success. But statistically, it's even clearer. It was found that employees of high-trust companies are 50% more productive, have 106% more energy, and are 76% more engaged with their work. Trust matters because it is the maker or breaker of your teams and your success.
How Can You Measure Trust in Business?
A helpful way to think about trust in business is to imagine it as an account, a trust account. When the company's trust account is full, you and your teams can execute tasks at high speeds for a low cost, while keeping a high-quality standard. When the trust account is drained, tasks take far longer to execute than they should, the tasks cost the business a lot more, and the quality is compromised during the process.
Trust can also be measured by money and finances. The reward for a high level of trust is financial success. High Trust = Thriving Business. When reviewing finances, consistent patterns of high income can reflect that both the internal and external trust accounts are full. Conversely, when income flow is stagnant, it can be a good indicator that there is a lack of trust internally or externally.
It's important to create a Trust Measurement System. According to Katie Paine, to create a trust measurement system, you need to:
- Define who it is that you want to build trust with.
- Set goals and objectives that are measurable and most importantly realistic.
- Create your benchmark. Who or what are you comparing your results to?
- Choose the metrics that you will use to evaluate your outcomes.
- Choose a research methodology that you will use to get the results.
- Analyse outcomes and consistently re-measure and re-analyse.
So, if you are wanting to measure the amount of trust your company has with employees and customers, look at your execution speeds and what they are costing you! Consider following the six steps to creating a trust measurement system and evaluate the real and honest results of how trustworthy people perceive your company to be. Once you know where trust is lacking, set up your construction site there and work to build what is missing!
Not Measuring Trust is Risking More than You Can Afford
Building trust takes time, but without change, nothing changes. Trust starts at the top, and leaders must exemplify trustworthy traits both on and off the battlefield. The culture of trust is shaped by the standards leaders set. High standards and actions that match words are essential to building trust. Failing to measure trust is a significant risk; trust is everything. Measure it often, analyze it thoroughly, and make changes where needed.
Paine, K. (2016). Guidelines for measuring trust in organisations (updated). Institute for Public Relations. https://instituteforpr.org/guidelines-for-measuring-trust-in-organizations-2/
Ayers, K. (n.d.). Trust is the key to high-performing organisations. Here’s how to build it. Integro. https://www.integro.com.au/trust-is-the-key-to-high-performing-organisations-heres-how-to-build-it/
Swaim, J. (2021). The social commodity. Jordan Taylor Swaim. https://jordantaylorswaim.medium.com/the-social-commodity-6b7cdf437900