As an HR manager for a successful business, it can feel overwhelming to be responsible for the well-being and performance of an entire organization. And, at times, it may feel like you are in a thankless job. Sometimes, having to focus on everyone else can blind HR team members to their own mistakes or apathy. Both are dangerous to the company; they can cause widespread discontent as well as the loss of valuable employees.

“More than 70% of surveyed tech employees said they didn’t trust their companies’ HR departments.”

To prevent this, HR managers must take an objective look at how the organization perceives their department. They also must derive actionable takeaways from what is learned.

Does your company have trust issues with HR?

In a recent research study of about 12,000 tech workers conducted by workplace app developer Blind, 70 percent of respondents stated they do not trust their employers. Many of the best-known names in the tech sector showed up on the list of the most distrusted corporations, including Intel, eBay, Amazon and Oracle. Only 26 percent said they trusted their employers (and 4 percent said their firms had no HR department).

The knee-jerk reaction would be to assume a defensive posture and dismiss the statistic above for a lot of reasons. Maybe your business isn’t in the tech sector, or maybe you work at a small business and not a giant corporation. Even if both are true, this data should still drive you to dig deep and find out exactly why your employees might distrust HR at your company.

Why don't some employees trust HR?What hurts trust in HR most? A history of sexual harassment issues.
Key cause of mistrust: harrassment

A fair amount of workforce discontent at major companies stems from mishandled harassment cases. According to TechCrunch, sexual harassment is one of the most pervasive fears in the workplace, even as prevalent as the fear of being fired. As a response, workers want to have confidence in their HR leaders, who must do a better job of hearing their voices and acting on their concerns. Multiple accounts of HR ignoring alleged sexual harassment, like those at Microsoft, for example, represent the poor institutional reactions that make employees feel uncomfortable, threatened and distrustful. This is one area you can focus on immediately if you feel trust is lacking. Make sure you have a clear code of conduct in place to prevent harassment and discrimination in your workplace, and, more importantly, ensure your HR team consistently enforces you company’s policies.

How to measure your organization’s level of trust

The best way to find out how your employees feel about anything is to ask. Employee surveys are the most effective means of gathering information or feedback from the entire organization. While you cannot force your employees to participate, most will if they feel there is real value in the survey. Be transparent not only about the purpose of the survey, but also regarding what you intend to do with the information; ensure employees that their feedback does matter and will help to improve the organization. It may even be worthwhile to enlist a third party for the survey, which will remove distrust from the equation.

Maintaining employee trust is paramount to any company’s long-term success. If you feel there are trust issues within your organization, there probably are. The key is finding out why there is distrust and then formulating a plan to earn it back. Then, you must work to sustain an environment of trust so employees never again feel as though they can’t believe in your company’s core mission or culture.