Given the lower productivity seen in those who do not trust their fellow colleagues and the reports detailing a distinct mistrust among employees and managers, the question on everyone’s lips seems to be “why?” Why is there a chronic lack of trust in healthcare today and what can we do to correct it?

What Makes Trust so Rare Between Employers and Employees?

There is no simple answer but there are some common factors that exist in every area where trust is low. There are factors that are identifiable by both employer and employee, management and subordinates.

Financial Pressure– In some cases, reducing staff, cutting away benefits, and removing bonuses are all things that management must do. Yet when done without some forewarning or some semblance of honor and truth, employees will be reluctant to trust the organization and will be quick to tell the rest of the world what happened, despite any warnings that management may give them to try to coerce their silence.

It’s worth noting that while financial pressure and problems in the hospital may not be within your control, the way that you handle them and the truth with which you address them are absolutely within your control as are these following factors:

Poor Communication and dishonest communication. When this happens, as it has often done, the trust will erode faster than topsoil in a flood. Lowering your credibility by being dishonest or disingenuous with people –regardless of who told you to handle a situation in that way—not only erodes the trust in the relationship, but word spreads. Your organization, and you as a supervisor, will be nothing short of poison and the best and brightest of employees will want precisely nothing to do with the hospital who holds that reputation.

Behavior that Employees Do Not Respect. Leading by example is supposed to be the foundation of leadership, but in many companies and situations that does not take place. Management in many companies do not exhibit the same behavior that they expect in others. Some examples of this are their behavior when visible on the floor and when dealing with subordinates. If your leadership isn’t exhibiting model behavior don’t expect the nurses who are being held to a different standard to trust the organization.

Not Going to Bat for Your Employees. If you believe that an employee is being unfairly disciplined or targeted or that they deserve your support, make sure that they get it. IF they don’t, the biggest casualty for that will be the trust of your subordinates and their faith in your leadership.

Even if your intentions are the best, there are innumerable ways to lose the trust of your employees and once gone, it is very difficult to get it back. Trust is an exceedingly fragile thing in the world of healthcare and among the most valuable assets that you have. Guard it strenuously and build it freshly as often as you can.

In the final part of this series, we will examine how you can regain trust or build it anew in order to get more engaged employees.

Mitch Robbins is an expert as it relates to Interim and Permanent Nursing Leadership Recruitment for hospitals and clinics, helping organizations build best in class clinical leadership teams in the USA.

Learn to how to STOP losing your best nurses, IMPROVE your patient outcomes and DECREASE your staffing costs with special guest LeAnn Thieman.Download the free webinar transcript with LeAnn, Hall of Fame Speaker, Nurse, and Co-Author of the book Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul. Download your free copy here.

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