Two articles caught my attention recently. The first highlighted Barclay's announcement eliminating 12,000 jobs, while increasing investment banker bonuses despite falling profits.
The second concerned blowback after the AOL CEO discussed strong earnings in a TV interview, then referenced employee 401(k) changes that would save the company money. He cited healthcare costs and "complicated pregnancies" from AOL employee families as the reason the company incurred 7.1 million dollars in increased healthcare costs. The article noted the CEO's compensation had, "quadrupled to $12 million in 2012."
Companies are entitled to make these kinds of decisions. But, what's surprising is when they're surprised that when they do, the twitterverse and blogosphere lights up; not to mention unfiltered responses from those they employ.
Increasing bonuses while laying off thousands of employees is a trust-diminishing action. So is heralding high earnings while reducing employer 401(k) contributions and citing the reason as health care costs from the people who helped create those higher earnings.
From a trust-diminishing vantage point these actions were significant. Not because of the way they were discussed or announced, but because trust is tied to deeper messages of value, intention, and behavioral integrity. These examples serve as an illustration of three leader not-to-dos if you want employee trust:
Trust doesn't come with your authority. It doesn't come with your title. And it certainly doesn't come with your words. It comes from well-intentioned and self-aligned actions.
More about trust building at work:
You'll find more trust building approaches in Trust, Inc.: How to Create a Business Culture That Will Ignite Passion, Engagement, and Innovation (Career Press, 2014).