White Paper: Trust Matters Within Organisations

A high level of trust within organisations is key to thrive in times of uncertainty and win the next generation of global talent. Our White Paper, developed together with Boston Consulting Group, demonstrates the power of transparency, enablement and culture to strengthen organisational trust.

Trusting work relationships are key for effective leadership with the next generation in mind. The Covid-19 pandemic confronts organisations around the world and across sectors with enormous challenges. In an environment marked by uncertainty and complexity, trusting work relationships are indispensable for organisations in navigating the storm. During the crisis and beyond, trust within organisations boosts productivity and employee engagement, helps leaders and teams to focus on what is important and reduces friction. Furthermore, while an issue of cross-generational relevance, organisational trust is particularly important to the younger members of the workforce: millennials and members of Gen Z. Transparency, enablement and a culture of trust boost their loyalty and commitment, while a lack thereof can be a primary reason to leave an employer.

To inspire decision makers to lead with the next generation in mind, we surveyed more than 150 young leaders from our Leaders of Tomorrow community and substantiated the findings with interviews of junior and senior leaders on the topic. All of them see a strong link between organisational trust and performance, personal satisfaction levels and the ability to focus on relevant tasks. Their perspectives also amount to a call for action: Leaders have more work to do to leverage the power of trust in their organisations, and the disruptions stemming from Covid-19 open up the opportunity for new paradigms.

To support decision makers in deliberately strengthening relationships of trust within organisations, and to lead with the next generation in mind, we have synthesised our research into a comprehensive trust model. It provides a holistic view of trust-building measures along three guiding principles: First, transparency is key. Trust increases if the organisation’s goals are aligned with a coherent overall strategy and leaders communicate in an honest, realistic and targeted manner. Second, enablement of the organisation with the least surveillance and control mechanisms creates ownership and fosters positive behaviours. We advise employing simple, well-reasoned principles instead of complex and rigid rules to encourage an output-oriented mindset and to consider individuals’ specific situations and needs. Third, leaders should promote a culture of trust. Reciprocal trust flourishes when leaders embrace their own vulnerability, trust their team members by default and orchestrate informal relations of trust.

Download the White Paper

Read and download the full White Paper here for all findings and actionable ways to strengthen organisational trust.


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