A common theme noticed by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke in organisations with both high levels of employee engagement and high levels of performance was organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap. Promises made are promises kept, or an explanation given as to why not.
Fed up with working somewhere where we are always being promised things – a review of how shifts are organised, or pay, a new fridge in the kitchen, better IT – but they never happen, and no one says why!
Or where you are always being told that ‘how’ you work is as important as what you do, yet though the organisation’s values are written in fancy letters on the wall in reception, they don’t seem to apply to the top of the office, and your manager gets away with not behaving as s/he is asking you to.
Trust is fundamental to high performance in a team, and high engagement in an organisation. Organisational integrity builds trust. This takes time. It can be hard work. Organisational integrity has to be role modelled not just by senior leaders, but managers throughout the organisation. It needs to enforced by holding managers to account. It needs to be reinforced by recognition and reward schemes. It can be thrown away by an error of judgment. It can be redeemed by an acknowledgment and an apology. Trust is fundamental …” this text: “In organisations where there are low levels of trust everything takes forever and there is never enough resource because lots of time is wasted as people hang back, wondering what the real motives are behind any request, and constantly seconding guess each other.
Ways some organisations have built trust include:
- Setting, enforcing and reinforcing the behavioural expectation with staff, rewarding desired behaviour, not rewarding those who don’t exhibit the required behaviours, exiting perpetrators of e.g. discrimination, bullying and harassment.
- Building a culture where all staff tell the truth, share information, are open-minded, respond when ideas or suggestions are made, share credit with others who deserve it, are consistent in the messages they give, and are consistent in messages and action
- Regular, ongoing, varied face-to-face meetings with staff, where leaders discuss honestly with staff changes in the organisation, and invite, comment, views and ideas, actively listen and demonstrate through feedback that staff views have been taken into account during discussions about decisions that affect their work and the future of the organisation.
- Reporting back on goals and priorities set by the organisation, particularly promised actions by the top team
- “Back to the floor”, where senior leaders spend time with more junior staff carrying out the everyday duties of operational staff