CPS HR Consulting

Key Strategies for HR Leaders to Foster Trust in Remote Teams

One of the most significant challenges HR faces regarding hybrid work environments is how to foster trust in remote teams. To be honest, it’s difficult even to build trust in the workplace with employees on site. 

But trust is key in any employee-manager or employee-employer relationship. It’s the foundation of any successful remote team. Trust can break down cultural differences, communication barriers and more. It can also: 

While that sounds great, you’re probably wondering how to do that. Without a team or office environment on site and no face-to-face communication, this is easier said than done.

Knowing how difficult this process can be, we’ve got strategies to help HR leaders foster trust and lead with consideration, transparency and heart. 

After all, it all starts with the leadership in public sector organizations.

Encourage Openness and Transparency

Transparency in everything supervisors and HR leaders do is key to building trust because it helps them feel respected, informed and included. A culture of transparency encourages open feedback, honesty and clear communication.

When communication happens over multiple tools and channels, promoting transparency can be challenging.

HR leaders and management should lead by example and provide a trusting and safe environment where people feel comfortable expressing their opinions, ideas and problems. 

One way to create a culture of transparency is to use regular employee surveys, one-on-one meetings and anonymous feedback boxes. Another solution is to err on the side of overcommunication, as that’s better than leaving workers in the dark. 

Public sector agencies that have accountable and transparent practices document all workplace decisions and discussions. HR professionals can establish guidelines and policies as to how and when to record decisions. Note that documenting the rationale behind decisions is important, too.

Foster Virtual Team-Building Initiatives

Teambuilding can be difficult in hybrid work environments where some people work remotely. Virtual team-building activities can help all employees collaborate and connect effectively. They also boost morale, improve communication and build stronger relationships between team members. 

Fun virtual activities include:

  • Virtual escape rooms
  • Online games
  • Activities using video conferencing
  • Annual highlights where you revisit each employee’s significant memories for the year
  • Virtual campfires that include icebreakers, ghost stories, competitions and snacks like s’mores
  • Team building bingo
  • Quarterly Christmas or care packages
  • A Slack or remote communication channel for just cute pictures of pets

Empower and Support Remote Employees

Empowering employees and providing support is another essential element to fostering trust in remote teams. While working from home has many benefits, like increased autonomy and flexibility, it can be difficult for people to deliver work efficiently and maintain productivity.

HR leaders can support the professional development of remote workers by offering mentorship programs, career development resources and training opportunities. 

One way to offer support to all team members is to develop an employee induction program. An induction program provides workers with the knowledge and skills needed to work from home successfully. 

You can include resources on:

  • Time management
  • Setting up a home office
  • Health and well-being
  • Technology
  • Communication

Mentorships can provide role models who help empower employees to reach their full potential, provide tips and someone they can ask questions.

Remote training opportunities and career development resources can help workers with personal and professional development and the resources they need to advance.

Lead by Example and Build Trust Through Actions

Managing an invisible workforce after organizations have had to shift from traditional work environments has left management and HR leaders looking for the best solutions. 

HR leaders can model accountability and trust in their interactions with employees. Modeling by doing helps improve employee productivity and engagement so everyone works together to achieve organizational goals. 

They should demonstrate empathy, integrity and responsiveness in their actions and communications.

HR leaders can demonstrate integrity by being honest and transparent, including admitting when they make a mistake and showing the lesson learned. 

They can show empathy by actively listening to employees, illustrating that they understand with: 

  • Nonverbal cues
  • Offering emotional support
  • Providing timely responses, communications, and follow-ups
  • Involving workers in problem-solving

Plus, HR leaders can demonstrate responsiveness by delivering on their promises, asking for feedback, understanding employee needs and exceeding expectations.

Key Takeaways

Learning how to build trust in the workplace is an ongoing task for HR leaders and other managers of public service organizations as the environment constantly evolves. Strategies like clear and transparent communication and effective communication channels help employees communicate with each other more effectively.

Team-building activities can help everyone work together better and get to know each other better. These activities make people feel comfortable and build trust in fellow team members. HR professionals can foster trust at work by leading by example because everyone can see it modeled.

Remote teams also need the right support and empowerment to ensure everyone stays productive and engaged.

Fostering trust is important for a more productive and happier workforce that improves collaboration and efficiency to meet company goals. Trust provides the strong foundation of any health public sector organization, inside and out.