Integrity & Trust in the Workplace

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Trust between co-workers improves business performance.
Trust between co-workers improves business performance. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

A workplace that is characterized by suspicion and lack of trust is not likely to be a happy or productive place. A healthier workplace is created when both management and workers are consistent in their actions, open and productive in their attitudes and honest in their dealings with others.

Brand Integrity and Customer Trust

The public image of a brand is critical to its success. When customers learn that they can trust a certain brand to deliver consistent quality at a reasonable price, that brand is on the way to business success. Developing this integrity requires a work force and a system of quality control that are dedicated to honest dealings and solving problems quickly and effectively. When a business starts cutting corners and not delivering what customers expect, its business will begin to decay as customer trust is eroded.

Corporate Integrity

The issue of corporate integrity is formally addressed in many companies through programs of corporate social responsibility. Such programs promote the idea that good ethics equal good business and that fair and ethical dealings with other businesses, the public and the natural world help to create an economic system that is both fair and profitable. Trust and integrity are central characteristics of corporate social responsibility, which depends on the goodwill of participants and on their desire to make a living without cheating anyone or engaging in unsavory business practices.

Trust Between Co-workers

A work force that lacks trust will quickly develop a workplace dynamic characterized by unhealthy competition, backbiting and gossip. It is difficult to be happy or productive in such an atmosphere. Workers who trust each other to have everyone's best interests at heart will be more open with their ideas and more willing to put effort into collective enterprises. A workplace in which this is the dominant attitude will help to foster this attitude in new employees, thus creating a self-replicating environment of openness, trust and integrity.

Consistent Management

Management can sow the seeds of trust by being consistent and fair in dealings with employees. Managers who say one thing and do another are creating problems for both employees and themselves. When employees feel they are being shortchanged or treated unfairly by their employers, they are unlikely to go the extra mile for the company. When management acts with integrity and keeps everyone's best interests in mind, employees feel they can return the favor by giving the work their full attention and effort.

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