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How to Assess the Level of Trust in the Office

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for part three of our analysis of relational trust. In this post, we’re continuing our dive into the concept of trust. Thus far, we’ve taken the time to analyze the business impact of trust and have also provided a working definition of trust and its three components.

Now, it’s time to shift focus to analyzing your organization specifically. You know that a culture of trust can dramatically impact your business performance, but do you know how to actually measure trust levels within your organization? You will after reading this post. Let’s dive in.

Assess Trust in the Office By Measuring It

Five areas to help you assess trust in the office
When examining the health of your organization’s trust, there are five key areas to observe:

  • Ethics: do you clearly state company values and ethical business function?
  • Customer Service: do you listen to customer feedback and quickly address customer needs?
  • Quality: what’s the overall status of product or service quality?
  • Pricing: are you confident that your pricing is both fair and transparent?
  • Purpose: is there a broader focus on giving back to the community and valuing people over profits?

Together, these five areas can paint a comprehensive picture of your organization’s trust levels. And to measure them, we suggest using our trust-evaluation grid, as seen below.

The grid consists of four quadrants resting on two axes: importance and performance. As you’re evaluating the five trust criteria mentioned above, you will place each in one of the four quadrants. First, you evaluate whether your organization places high importance on that specific attribute (high-performance attributes would go in the quadrants on the top row). Next, you decide how you’re performing (low performance goes in the left column quadrants).

As you can probably gather, those elements in the high-importance, high-performance quadrant (top right) are your core strengths. Those elements you attribute high importance but are underperforming on (in the top left quadrant) are areas of high-priority opportunity. For convenience, let’s go over a few examples.

Putting the quadrant in play For a quick example, let’s take a look at quality, one of our five criteria you’ll want to measure. Your organization prides itself on product quality; it’s one of your central brand messages. Yet you run a quality report and realize one of your products is returned twice as much as the industry standard for defects. This clearly provides you with a trust-building opportunity.

In this scenario, “quality” would fall into the top-left quadrant, as it has high importance but low performance. Think about the message you’re sending – you claim to value quality, yet you aren’t producing a quality product. That is a major trust-building opportunity.

The Importance of Trust Through Customer Service 

Next, think about customer service. Along with product quality, your customer service serves as a key brand message. But unlike quality, you’re rocking the customer service game. In fact, you recently conducted a customer survey that showed a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate. This would be a core strength, situated in the top-right quadrant.

If you’re messaging around this, letting your customers in on your intent to deliver a top-notch customer experience, you’re helping to assess trust in the office by capitalizing on this promise. If you’re not messaging around core strength, ask yourself why not? Any core strength has the opportunity to serve as a massive trust-builder as well as a differentiator from your competitive set.

Assess Trust in the Office With Trust-Building Exercises

Now, the final step: taking advantage of trust-building opportunities

After you’ve taken the time to place each of the five criteria into one of the quadrants on the trust evaluation grid, think about why you ranked each of the criteria the way you did. Write down the reasoning for each. Again, those in the top right are your core strengths, while those in the top left offer opportunities for you to build trust. The question remains, how can you act on those opportunities?

We’ll be sure to cover the answer to this in the fourth and final installment of our series on trust. Keep your eyes peeled, and if you’d like a refresher on the business impact of trust or the three key components of trust, be sure to check those out as well.

Wildsparq is a web-based leadership development platform that has quickly become the go-to way for companies — from small businesses to large corporations — to invest in developing leaders. Developed by the recruiting and leadership development experts at FireSeeds in Birmingham, Alabama, Wildsparq is an indispensable tool for companies that are serious about building their culture.