Trust is often the missing ingredient for peak workplace productivity.

Trust is often the missing ingredient for peak workplace productivity.

The Importance of Trust in Workplace Productivity


In the realm of workplace productivity, trust between employees and leadership is emerging as a vital factor. According to recent research by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4CP), organizations with higher levels of trust experience greater productivity. The study found that employees in high-performance companies were 11 times more likely to say their senior leaders trusted them to do their jobs, compared to employees in low-performance organizations.

In many organizations, trust between leaders and employees has deteriorated due to factors such as mass layoffs, dispersed work, and high turnover. Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4CP, emphasizes the relationship between unilateral trust and productivity, stating, “Unfortunately, trust has eroded recently in many organizations.” Interestingly, tactics like digital monitoring and return-to-office mandates, often used to increase efficiency, do little to motivate workers or improve their output, according to Oakes.

A report by PwC further highlights the perception gap regarding trust in the workplace. While 79% of executives believe employee trust is high, only 65% of employees agree. To bridge this gap and foster a more trusting culture, CHROs, or Chief Human Resources Officers, can implement various techniques and programs.

Here are some suggestions offered by i4CP researchers:

  1. Leadership Training: Establish training programs specifically focused on modeling behaviors that encourage a healthy workplace culture. By providing managers with the necessary skills to build trust, CHROs can empower them to be effective leaders.

  2. Inclusive Workplaces: Empower HR and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) teams to lead training sessions on creating inclusive workplaces. This can help foster a sense of trust and belonging among employees, leading to increased productivity.

  3. Clear Communication: Provide employees with clear feedback on career development, goal setting, and performance expectations. Transparent communication is essential in building trust and keeping employees engaged and motivated.

CHROs play a crucial role in implementing these programs and bridging the perception gaps between leaders and employees. Failure to address the erosion of trust can lead to festering toxicity and other unintended consequences, ultimately hindering an organization’s success.

A.I. Leadership Titles Are Rising, but Clarity is Lacking


The field of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is rapidly growing, with the number of people in the U.S. holding A.I. leadership titles tripling in the past five years. However, many employers are uncertain about the specific responsibilities and roles of these leaders. While there is widespread agreement on the need for A.I. stewards within companies, the practical aspects of this stewardship remain unclear.

According to Vox, the nature of new technology contributes to this uncertainty. As companies adopt A.I., they must navigate uncharted waters, resulting in a lack of concrete expectations for A.I. leaders. Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of A.I. leaders is crucial for organizations to leverage and maximize the benefits of this transformative technology.

Around the Table: HR Headlines

In the world of HR, several noteworthy headlines are making waves:

  • Hybrid-Loving Executives: Despite blaming younger hires for pushing remote work, new research from the Wall Street Journal reveals that executives who embrace hybrid work arrangements are often the ones resisting a return to in-person work.

  • Legacy Admissions and Affirmative Action: Wesleyan University recently announced the end of its legacy admissions practice, which grants preferential treatment to applicants with family ties to the university. This decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action.

  • Grievance Against NBCUniversal: The Writers Guild of America filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing NBCUniversal of obstructing protestors’ right to picket and jeopardizing their safety.

  • Impact of A.I. on Call Center Employees: As employers integrate A.I. into their workflows, call center employees express concern about being among the first workers to be replaced. The New York Times reports on the anxieties surrounding the future of their jobs.

Watercooler: Fortune Highlights

Here are some interesting highlights from Fortune’s latest edition:

  • Heat Relief: Miami officials have implemented new rules to protect employees working outside in extreme heat. Companies are now required to provide 10-minute shade breaks and free water every two hours when the heat index hits 90 degrees.

  • Funemployment for Millennials: Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Millennials list for 2023 reveals that top-ranking companies prioritize a fun work environment. This focus on enjoyment proves to be a shared trait among these organizations.

  • Empty Desks and the Office Sector: The office sector continues to suffer as remote work opportunities persist. According to the MSCI Real Assets Group, the office sector accounted for the largest share of distress in the property market for the first time in five years during the second quarter.

  • Return to Stricter Office Protocols: Real estate accounting firm JLL reports that 1.5 million employees are currently operating under new attendance policies. Additionally, another million employees expect stricter office protocols to be in place by January 2024.

In conclusion, trust between employees and leadership is vital for fostering a productive work environment. CHROs can play a significant role in implementing programs that cultivate trust, such as leadership training and creating inclusive workplaces. Additionally, clarifying the roles of A.I. leaders and addressing HR challenges can contribute to the overall success of an organization. As the world of work continues to evolve, it’s important to stay informed about the latest developments and headlines in HR.