Friday, 19 August 2016

The business case for trust?

If you have been looking for ways to get around the relational requirement in managing people, I fear that you will become increasingly frustrated. We tend to look for short-cuts to motivate and inspire people, but at the end of the day we will never be able to get away from the fact that people are fundamentally relational beings.

This means that building strong trust-based relationships with your employees and your teams is important. There is no long-term substitute for investing in trust-based relationships. We understand this for our personal relationships, but then somehow forget it in the workplace, which in turn often impedes the performance of our teams.

The business case for trust? Trust is not merely an emotional virtue – it has a tangible and enormous effect on the ability of a team to work together and be efficient [1]. This links to the effectiveness of a team which influences their ability to generate a return. High-trust organisations can show returns up to four times that of low-trust organisations [1]. In simple terms, trust is described as a positive expectation of the actions of others, or at least a belief that their actions will not be to your detriment [2]

It centres on the trustworthiness of the individual and or company, and directly impacts two critical areas of performance namely, speed and cost [1]. When trust goes down, speed goes down as well which in turn increases cost.

When you have trust in your team, you eliminate the need to ‘cover yourself’ or repeatedly follow-up on issues [3]. It is therefore recommended that managers pay proactive attention to managing the interpersonal relationships of their teams [2]. With long-term teams this will mean that you will need to monitor these relationships to ensure that they remain constructive as well as reconcile issues before trust starts deteriorating [2]. A good place to start is to evaluate the intent behind your own actions, as well as the actions of your team [3]. Be sure that you enforce healthy habits and interaction in your team.

There is a wealth of research available on building trust-based relationships within organisations. We strongly recommend that you study this topic to ensure the sustainable health, performance and growth of your organisation. Let’s invest in the basics.


Estée Roodt (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Estée is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our keen researcher, our problem-solver and our number one sports star.

Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit for more info and a free trial!


1. Covey, S. M. R. (2007). The business case for trust. CEO Magazine, 38–40.
2. De Jong, B. D., & Elfring, T. (2010). How Does Trust Affect the Performance of Ongoing Teams ? The Mediating Role of Reflexivity , Monitoring , and Effort. Academy of Management Journal, 53(3), 535–549.
3. Hall, C. (2011). Strengthening the trust at Frito-Lay. Dallas Morning News, pp. 1–2.

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