I have teenagers – their friends are beginning to get part time jobs… I am fascinated to watch them learn and discover the world of work. The experience that they have with these businesses may well determine what ‘work’ looks like for them.
Trust is paramount in every employment relationship – without it, it is really difficult to achieve great things.
So imagine a young person – his first work experience job – 5 days in total he has been told that he will receive $20 per day. He is happy with this because it covers the cost of his bus and lunch. At the end of the week no one mentions it – he leaves with out his $100… feels unable to say something to someone… and is quite hurt that they said one thing and did another. To a 15-year-old $100 is a lot of money. What is his impression of work so far?
Simon Sinek told us at his presentation this week that the biggest abusers of trust are organizations. (And large organizations the worst.)
“Trust is a feeling, it is a human experience” he said – our instincts tell us when things are not right. So much of business is now conducted ‘online’. The Internet is an amazing tool to connect people around the planet (and locally) to spread the word quickly and also to massively increase the speed of transactions…. but what it is not good at is building relationships. And an employment relationship is one of trust. Negotiations for instance are emotional activities – and as are better done face to face. Let’s not confuse technology for a relationship builder – email is ideally used to confirm the facts rather than a vehicle for emotional thoughts.
Trust takes time – as do all relationships. It is something that is given not earned. I said recently to all RedBallooners – “you have my trust – it is not something you need to earn – it is implicit” – that is I trust my choices in those leaders around me, I trust those leaders to fulfill on and live and honor our values – and that everyday they encourage and develop those around them…. first of all you have to trust yourself and your choices. There is no power in blame.
As employers though our role is to lead by example. I was saddened that one of my children’s friends, who had been so excited when they got an interview and then two ‘trial shifts’ at the local store… was not only not paid for their time – but the employer did not even give them feedback if they were good enough… they simply never called with another shift. What is that young persons experience of work… how easy it is to create a ‘them and us’ attitude. At $12.50 per hour for the sake of a total of $50 this young person would have respected, and perhaps even trusted the employer… Now some other employer at some other stage is going to have to rebuild that persons trust in authority.
Trust is the very premise of all relationships – and the first employment relationship is critical. Leaders please give your people a reason to trust.