“Trust” might seem like a fuzzy, emotional word when applied to business, but it’s the underlying basis of all strong supply-chain relationships. In staffing, we rely on businesses to trust us with one of the most important strategic elements of their business: hiring. And candidates are trusting us with one of the most important elements of their lives.
So how can you increase the trust in your working relationships?
Give them reason to trust you. Keep their best interests in mind, and defend those interests. Be truthful, especially when the truth is difficult to hear, but be kind when you tell it. Always behave ethically and with as much transparency as possible. Basically, be a trustworthy person.
Listen to them. If a client or a candidate comes to you with an issue but doesn’t feel that you listened, they won’t come to you again. Don’t interrupt them or be quick to offer your solutions. Instead, listen to what they’re saying and ask questions to make sure you understand. This is often called “active listening,” and involves periodic questions like, “I hear you saying ABC. Is that correct?” This way, you can make sure you aren’t just hearing but understanding their concerns. Plus, they valued (few things make people feel more valued than truly listening to them) and are more likely to trust you.
Speak to them with respect, especially when things are rough. When you need to have a talk, don’t lecture them about bad behavior or approaches, how things work in the real world, or how things used to work, or—anything, really. (Think about it: do you respond well to being lectured? Then why would you think anyone else would?) Instead, ask questions about what’s going on to arrive at a solution together: “What can we both do differently to prevent X or encourage Y?” “What other approaches do you think might work?” When you do this, you become part of a solution, and you frame that solution as something you arrive at together, which increases trust.
As human-resources partners, we can be privy to a company’s innermost workings. And as employers, we can be a lifeline to our candidates. The staffing business is all about trust, so it’s important that we earn it in both directions every day.
What do you do to encourage trust? Have you had working relationships what went south because of trust issues? Let us know in the comments!