As many before me will have written, one of the biggest challenges in any organisation is getting everyone to work together towards a common goal.  There are countless reports, talks, conferences and presentations given every year about team development and the reason for this is simple, there is no guaranteed ‘one size fits all’ approach to building a fully functioning team. The techniques used, cultural nuances observed and red tape to be negotiated is so varied that every company needs to have their own HR policy and strategy. However, I would argue that there is one golden rule that all companies must follow – you must trust your employees.

Whilst there are different applications to ‘trust’ within an organisation, In this blog, I would like to take reference from Robert Galford and his book. Within this he describes that there is an equation that must be followed to develop trust within relationships, both from an internal point of view and with clients. The equation cited is

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy / Self-Orientation.

This is something that I have taken as a mantra within our office – and there are some quick wins to be had for ensuring you maximize the positives and eliminate the negatives.

Credibility – When we employ people, we want to ensure they are bringing something to the team that we don’t already have. Even as a graduate, we look for people with unique experiences, backgrounds or points of view. This allows them to ‘be positioned’ within our team – we provide the rest of the team a clear reason as to why this person is joining and what we are excited for them to do. Over time, each person in our office will be responsible for some some internal initiatives allowing them to showcase off their thinking to the rest of the team and to ensure that they are seen as a ‘credible’ employee as soon as possible.

Reliability – Whilst this is built up over time, we wanted to ensure that we could have a more immediate mechanism for people to feedback on their colleagues. We have launched the Continuous Feedback Loop, an ongoing anonymous 360 feedback system that provides all staff with a platform to provide feedback to any colleagues year round.  Each feedback form is customized to each employee’s role and personal goals to ensure maximum relevance.  This feedback system allows us to provide immediate feedback, from any member in the team, on how they are progressing to their development goals.

Intimacy – We have replaced the typical Weekly Project Update Meeting with a Monday Morning Energizer, a short session meant to get the team moving, thinking and socializing at the start of every week. Each week, a different person will run the session and can choose whatever activity they want the team to do.  We have done a range of activities including races, puzzles and even science experiments! This allows individuals to express their own personality when running the sessions, as well as a great opportunity to catch up with others and ask about their weekends. The more we get to know our colleagues, the more we can trust them.

Self-Orientation – This is arguably the easiest to write about, and the hardest to exhibit. Team members have to be able to genuinely look out for each other as well as the business. Everyone (from interns to the MD) is empowered to help to grow the business. In fact, everyone is required to dedicate at least 2 Innovation Hours per week to get involved in initiatives outside of research projects, including business development, marketing, public relations, and HR.

Of course, this is something that must be built up over time in an organisation. But by keeping this equation in mind, it helps to ensure that we are always looking for opportunities to build trust within the team.