Building a culture of trust between management and the workforce is a key factor in reducing resistance to organisational change, and it helps create stronger alignment and sharing of ideas and practices. But, typically, trust is only measured once a year, or once a quarter at best.

Wouldn’t it be better if we could measure trust more regularly?

Unfortunately increasing the frequency of measurement for a subjective variable like trust isn’t always straightforward, and the very act of measuring can distort the result. If I asked you “on a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you trust senior management?” every week for a year, you might think carefully about it the first few times but, after a while, the question becomes routine and receives a routine answer.

Rather than just relying on surveys, perhaps we should consider the ways in which trust manifests itself in an organisation. If we measure the positive outputs that we expect to see in a more trusting environment – things like team cohesiveness, employee retention rate, scale of cross-functional knowledge sharing and openness to trying new ideas – then we could build a more complete picture of trust in the organisation over time, and measure more continuously without distorting the results due to survey fatigue. 

The below links look at the idea of measuring trust, whether you can screen for trust when interviewing, and some of the leadership characteristics that can help build a trusting work environment, plus a game that explores trust through the lens of game theory.