If you've been a long-term visitor to this blog, you know that we believe there’s high value in training your employees well. And there’s an upside of investing in training that can have a huge, undervalued return on your investment: the trust it builds.
In his best-seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, author Patrick Lencioni describes five of the most common destructive archetypes of an unhealthy and counterproductive work environment: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.
The first and most common is the absence of trust. In an organization without trust, individuals are unable or unwilling to be vulnerable with their teammates. This foundational dysfunction is often the cornerstone upon which the other dysfunctions are built.
So, how can you establish, build or maintain trust in your organization? Consider using training in these ways:
Make training an expectation of everyone, including yourself. By using a top-down approach to model training within your organization, you convey to your leaders and rank-and-file employees that no one is perfect and everyone has room to grow and improve.
Blend standard training with individualized training plans. Most jobs have base-level and continuing training that is required to either stay certified or proficient in doing the job. But if you’re serious about using training to maximize the culture and performance of your company, consider plans that let employees choose additional training to help them achieve individual professional goals. This sends a message across the board that your company is committed to professional development.
Use training activities strategically. In-person training exercises provide a great opportunity to give team members a low-risk setting to practice teamwork as well as the task being trained. If you help your trainers understand secondary training goals that are focused around specific areas of growing trust among employees, activities can be maximized for your organization’s cultural health.
No matter what sort of training your employees need, being smart about the way you implement training requirements can spell the difference between having untrusting, dysfunctional employees and having a healthy culture based around a strong sense of mutual trust.