The Trust Curve: What’s Said Versus What’s Experienced
Even amid a global pandemic, life goes on. Employees will still get married, have kids, move, care for aging parents, manage a child’s education or lose a loved one. Each of these situations, though personal, can impact an employee’s day-to-day work and lessen their overall productivity. Some of these situations may even require extended leave or necessitate a shift in the employee’s working hours, meaning that there is little to no separation between work time and family time.
In recent years, companies have started to place more emphasis on the employee experience because it is both the right thing to do and supports the health of the organization. Companies are relearning the importance of empathy – and what it takes for each employee gets what they need from their employer. Therein lies a key challenge for HR teams everywhere: finding the balance between each employee’s personal and professional needs as well as the company’s operating ethos, as defined by its policies.
While you may want to tell an employee to “take as much time as you need” to take care of a sick family member, the reality is that there are guidelines, policies and regulations designed to ensure consistent decision making while protecting the interests of the workforce and organization as a whole. Hence, the importance of delivering relevant, digestible information quickly and accurately, to avoid causing misinterpretation or, and more critically, a loss of trust in the organization.
Trust in the workplace is crucial
Ensuring that what employees get told when dealing with personal situations aligns with company policies is crucial to building trust. Of course, trust usually has to be earned rather than granted automatically, and as a Harvard Business Review found, 58% of people say they trust strangers more than their own boss. A lack of trust in the workplace can lead to disengagement and lower productivity, so gaining employee trust is essential.
Interestingly, employees are also more likely to trust artificial intelligence over their managers – at least in some areas. According to one study, 82 percent believed AI can perform certain tasks better than their managers, particularly around providing unbiased information. When it comes to the personal issues that employees face, accurate and impartial answers to questions and an explanation of how the company can help is essential to avoid setting unreal expectations.
The power of empathy (supported by AI)
The ability to access information about company policies during the moments that matter can help employees on three fronts – building trust, providing accurate insights on how the company can support them and freeing up time for managers and HR to weigh in when only human judgment can resolve an issue. The same study that found employees trust AI for certain tasks also revealed some areas that managers can do better than robots, including understanding their feelings. So, when equipped with the Socrates platform, employees benefit from insights available at their fingertips while managers gain the ability to address individual needs. When empathy is supported by the power of AI to deliver accurate and timely information, the company can provide a high level of personalized support for every employee, every day, even during the most critical moments in life.