Building a Culture of Trust

  • Mona Faisal

How to make your employees feel valued, you ask? By offering great culture!

Culture is measured through a variety of metrics in most companies. For the employees, however, it is something very tangible, something that they can feel and observe every day they come to work.

The ultimate goal of any organization should be to create an environment that is non-toxic, promotes creativity, and provides flexibility to employees to work on projects that they are most passionate about. Everything that you do, should be geared towards this goal, and all touch points should carefully be thought through with this in mind.

Paul J. Zak in his book ‘The Trust Factor’ conducted several studies on the factors that drive a productive work culture, and in turn a high-performing team.

What he found through his research was pretty simple, “trust begets trust.” The more you are valued and empowered, the more you want to give back in a meaningful and honest manner.

The foundation of a great culture in my opinion always starts with your leadership

Unfortunately, there are no quick formulas to attain an engaging, productive, and innovative culture. However, I would like to mention certain elements that are considered as key drivers of a truly great culture. First, the foundation of a great culture in my opinion always starts with your leadership. It is the action and the ethos of the top leadership that trickles down and eventually, shapes the culture at work. Couple that with some of the following and you have the recipe for a great work culture.


Showing empathy and care goes a long way towards building healthy relationships.

For employees, this relationship is something special and real. Senior leadership who act like coaches and mentors, help the team to continuously strive for excellence and to raise the bar. Policies and benefits that share and encourage trust and responsibility, enable better work relationships and collaborative teamwork.

Senior leadership who act like coaches and mentors, help the team to continuously strive for excellence and to raise the bar

Moreover, encouraging and celebrating teamwork with cross-functional assignments – where employees help each other towards a common goal – is another aspect that needs to be continuously propagated.

Learning & development

Investing in the learning and development of your people – personally and professionally – should lie at the heart of every organization. You can do this through training sessions and knowledge sharing. Expose them to a multitude of industries and their experts to broaden their thinking.

When employees experience the freedom to explore different job trajectories, their self-worth increases and so does their trust in the company.

Goals & expectations

Follow the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework. Objectives are simply what you wish to achieve. They are significant and action-oriented, and ideally inspirational.

Key Results (KR) monitor how we get to the objective. KRs are specific and time-bound, and most importantly measurable and verifiable. Where an objective can be long-term, key results are short-term milestones that need to be achieved as the overall goal progresses towards completion.

Clear and measurable OKRs lead to concentrated effort and coordination. There is better visibility of the impact of work and everyone is clear on what needs to be achieved.


Another important factor that sometimes is not executed in its true spirit is recognition.

Receiving public recognition builds attachment to team members and makes one’s job more fulfilling. In order to be most effective, recognition must be unexpected, personal, and tangible.

A culture that encourages the ‘give credit where it’s due’ mindset, pushes employees to truly explore their potential and aim for self-actualization.


Lastly, I would like to highlight the importance of having fun while doing what you are doing. Bonding over fun projects should be the norm. Regular team events, sports competitions, BBQs, and sharing stories in weekly or monthly meetups can help cultivate a culture of familiarity (where people know each other well) and fulfillment (where employees collaborate on meaningful projects for the greater good).

The fun factor also includes being able to work on projects that you are most passionate about. Encourage your employees to look at their projects, not as daily tasks, but as efforts toward the greater good of communities.

Be proactive in creating a healthy work culture and see the magic unfold.

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