Trust is an integral part of our lives. We trust teachers with our children, healthcare providers with our care, and local shops to give us a fair deal. In an era of “fake news,” divisiveness, and a global pandemic, people are craving—no, people are needing—brands, businesses, and employers they can trust—organizations, that are transparent, empathetic, and competent. Making the investment in trust can help your organization become one of these brands for your customers.

But what is trust exactly?  

In the May-June edition of the Harvard Business Review, Frances X. Frei and Anne Morriss explain that trust is the result of a combination of three qualities (in people or organizations):  

  • Logic: Good judgment and competence  
  • Empathy: Caring about others and their situations  
  • Authenticity: Being open, honest, and showing your true self   

According to Frei and Moriss, when trust is lost, it’s because there’s a breakdown in one of the three areas in the “Trust Triangle.”  But, luckily, those breakdowns are fixable with a little investment.

Investing in trust  

Many companies invest in compliance or ethics, but not trust—even though most corporate leaders agree that trust is critical to an organization’s success and lack of trust is a significant threat to an organization’s ability to grow.

So, why has investing in trust been such a tough sell? Because, traditionally, trust was hard to define and measure.

However, with the “trust triangle” model, proactively building trust is more straightforward. For example, organizations can invest in:

  • Communication that provides clarity around strategies and tactics (logic)
  • Training for leaders and managers around compassion, connection, and feedback (empathy)
  • Organization-wide transparency and inclusion/diversity programming (authenticity)

The focus of the investment depends on where the organization needs work, so, the first part of building trust is admitting to the areas where the organization needs help. The bottom-line is high-trust organizations perform better, have lower turnover rates, and have greater customer satisfaction. The investment is worth making.

Trust isn’t going anywhere  

This year, more than ever, trust in the workplace is essential for individuals and organizations alike. Trust that employees would get their work done at home. Trust that managers are empowering their employees to make decisions. Trust that leaders will keep employees informed, safe, and gainfully employed. Trust that organizations will fulfill their promises about equity and racial justice. A little more trust is exactly what many of us need right now.


At Salo, our mission is “connecting people to make a difference”.

We connect senior finance, accounting, and HR consultants with organizations that need their help. It’s our job to build trusted relationships with the clients and consultants we serve—logic, authenticity, and empathy are part of each engagement. If you’d like to learn more about how Salo can help your organization, contact me on LinkedIn and we’ll set up a conversation.

David Telep

Business Development Director

Minneapolis

LinkedIn