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How to boost security by building trust

One of the most important things managers and business leaders can do to create a safe and secure working environment is build a culture of trust, encompassing the entire organisation from entry-level staff to senior decision-makers.

Recent research has suggested that trust is lacking in some companies - particularly between middle managers and their bosses - so what steps can you take to deliver improvements in this area.


Why trust is so important for security

Fostering a culture of trust between co-workers, teams, managers and company directors is important for workplace security because it helps people to feel safe and comfortable in an environment where they spend a large amount of time.

If employees trust their managers and bosses, they are much more likely to have confidence that the necessary security measures are in place to keep them safe at work. This will contribute to a general sense of security and stability around the workplace, which in turn will support staff engagement and productivity.

Achieving a high standard of security is often dependent on workers being engaged and attentive. People who have a positive attitude at work and enjoy a strong, trusting relationship with their colleagues and bosses are much more likely to be vigilant to potential security issues and approach a manager with any concerns they might have.

At the higher levels of a business, it's important to ensure an open, trusting relationship between middle managers and senior leaders. These are the people who will be making the critical decisions about how the business is run, so it's crucial that they are able to have candid discussions and air their views in complete confidence.

One question company decision-makers have to consider is whether to use a professional security service, which can be one of the most effective ways of building up trust and confidence regarding safety in the workplace. If employees see that the company has invested in protective measures for the premises and staff, they will know that their employer is willing to spend money to guarantee safety and peace of mind.

Taking action when trust is lacking

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) recently conducted a survey of 1,456 middle managers which found that less than four out of ten respondents (36 per cent) had full trust in their senior leaders. This problem appears to extend throughout the workforce in many organisations, with four out of five middle managers stating that staff lack full trust in their chief executive officer.

Fast-growing organisations are more than four times more likely to report a high degree of trust between middle and senior management. The survey also found that 85 per cent of business leaders and managers agree trust is critical to business performance.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said: "The Brexit vote reflected a breakdown of trust in politicians, businesses and other institutions. Rebuilding it isn't just a requirement of our political leadership - it's a profound management challenge for the nation.

"These findings are a warning that a communication breakdown between leaders, middle managers and employees more widely is undermining growth. Leaders have to recognise the pivotal role played by middle managers at the heart of their organisations and support them to succeed in the months and years ahead."

The CMI outlined five "essential elements" for organisations trying to improve trust, which could be useful guidelines in cases where businesses need to improve their workplace relations and standards for security purposes. These five recommendations can be remembered using the acronym 'Civic':

Communications - Promoting open and honest workplace relationships
Integrity - Ensuring that everyone, at all levels of the business, abides by stated values
Visibility - Making senior leaders accountable for their actions and open to challenge
Interaction - Allowing staff to meet with senior managers and give feedback
Connections - Investing in training to improve communication and management skills

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock / Shironosov

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