Mr. HR Manager, There is an elephant called ‘trust’ in the room!!!!

A large proportion of our working population is employed in the corporate sector. HR managers are always seeking the best talent for their companies. And while an enormous amount of effort goes into hiring people very few resources are directed towards empowering them with the tools and leadership skills that ensure sustained commitment and optimum performance.

In our experience of Coaching, our findings related to employee retention corroborate what has always been feared the most.

The Human Resource function has to work more to make employees trust people and organizations.


  • HR and HR systems are critical to the process of building trust.
  • If we do not change the fundamental HR processes around promotion, appraisal, reward, leader selection and so on to reflect the importance of trust to the organization, we are not going to get trust.
  • It’s just as important for organizations that already have high levels of trust to maintain them.
  • Only when we reflect the importance of trust will we get it and those who already have built a strong bond with their employees will be able to maintain it.

Here in lies the biggest challenge for HR. HR itself is not trusted by employees.

HR Manager Role and Job

HR is often seen & perceived as “siding with top management.”

The exercise of annual performance appraisal leads a lot to be desired, and HR is seen as people & function holding back more than revealing.

Their association and anchoring of any right-sizing & restructuring exercise in the organization also create trust issues with employees.

HR is also challenged by behaviors at leadership level added to the fact that senior leadership teams tend not to project a cohesive picture.

Irrespective HR has a role to play in building & help resolve trust issues.  There will always be issues in top teams, but the more dysfunctional they are, the fewer people trust them. Making sure the head office works as a team and supports the organization is something HR rarely thinks about.

Why does trust matter at all?

Why does trust matterLeaders achieve success with teams when they show & share their vulnerabilities. The willingness for somebody to take a risk, to allow themselves to feel vulnerable, believing the other person has an attitude of goodwill towards them is all about trust building.

It is not just engagement.

Trust is much more fundamental.

If an employee just trusts his boss and not the senior leadership team, we can do masses of engagement activities, yet there shall be no radical rise in performance, as people will be viewing those activities through a lens of distrust.

It is not always an easy task. But then the HR manager has to decide to get back the respect for his role, team, and function. It will be worth the effort.

Make a beginning. Make people see the elephant in the room. Talk about Trust. Make it explicit.

  • Establish the business link of trust to results and performance.
  • Begin from the leadership level, help them develop self -awareness “How good are they at understanding and managing relationships from their perspective as a leader.”
  • Invest in training & coaching leaders.
  • Help people surface out trust issues, put them on the table and discuss them. Be the facilitator.


The role & job is cut out.

HR must lead the way and bring trust issues on the table. This “elephant in the room” can be ignored only at the cost of organizational performance in these challenging & competitive times.

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