Can the trust hormone make work a better place?

Published on: 04/12/22 9:31 AM


Here on the MuddyWellies blog, we’ve been getting stuck into the benefit of building trust and flexibility in the workplace. We recently did some digging into the notorious Unlimited Holiday Policy, and the questions you should ask yourself before you consider offering it to your people. Ultimately, we believe the best thing you can do for your people, above any sparkly benefits package, is build a stronger, healthier relationship with your people – it’s where we start with all our clients. So, here’s our dive into how oxytocin can help your people to feel happier at work – and the benefits of a culture built on trust.

Now, you may know that Oxytocin is the trust hormone, but did you know it’s vital for strengthening your business? All humans create oxytocin when they feel loved and appreciated – this chemical messenger helps us to build trust, empathy, positive memories and encourages positive communication. It’s also known as the cuddle hormone… which we absolutely love. Now, we don’t suggest giving your teams a squeeze, but there are many ways to help them feel trusted at work. Oxytocin is responsible for creating social bonds, even with strangers that show you unintentional trust. Essentially, It’s the hormone that helps us to reduce any concern or fear we may have about the people around us, as well as allowing us to understand them better. This understanding is so important when it comes to building teams, improving performance, and working together effectively.

If, as humans, we rely on trust to form meaningful relationships, there is untold value in strengthening it in the workplace. Giving your people a purpose can be the most impactful and beneficial thing you do for your business. When we feel gratitude, validation and understanding at work, we feel trusted to do our jobs, and encouraged to enhance our performance. In a businesswire study, nearly 64% of employees said trust has a direct impact on their sense of belonging at work. So, to make a meaningful difference to your operations, to create trustworthy work – and to just make life a little bit simpler for everyone – you need to foster a culture of trust. We’ll never tire of saying it, it’s about giving them the flexibility they need to get the job done.

67% of employees and business leaders believe that it’s up to the employee to earn trust. We believe trust should be given, not earned. And, as a leader, you should feel the same. Allowing your people freedom and flexibility is what inspires innovation, gives the power to challenge how things are done – and create new experiences. Overall, that’s what makes teams more productive. So, by giving people a clear purpose, you will empower them to find more freedom, build better connections, ease their workload, and up their passion. It’s vital to let your people know exactly how their day-to-day is impacting the business, their team and their personal development. Keep them updated on what matters about their work, remind them that they are real contributors to your organisation, with a real chance to learn.

So, what happens if you fail to trust your employees? You lose great people. And, ultimately, lose the magic behind your brand. Trust works both ways and is a key factor when it comes to attraction and retention. If you’re not allowing your people the freedom to go forth and excel, you’re not going to receive the same in return. You won’t be able to encourage your teams to be brave and bold, and to have confidence in the decisions they make, if you’re simply not allowing that freedom. You also won’t be trusted by your employees to help with aspects such as, improving work/life balance, open and honest feedback, learning and development, and career progression… All the things that matter most today.

But how do you focus on that trust if it doesn’t already exist in your business? How do you action it? In today’s world it’s about building something real, about being authentic. Create and strengthen those tangible connections with one another. It’s not about free beers on a Friday (although, we wouldn’t grumble!), or a meal out for 2. It may seem like a great hook in a job ad, but employee needs have shifted massively since the pandemic. The world is craving meaningful connections, especially now that their working worlds have turned virtual. Trust-building benefits could include anything from more consistent catchups, providing a listening ear or showing your appreciation, to focusing huddles, objectives and coaching around your purpose. You won’t win people over with fads.

Do you want to grow a culture of trust in your business, but you’re just not sure where to start? Well, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve, and we’re ready to help you make a splash. We work with leaders that are ready for transformational change, growth and alignment. We dig deep to find your pain points and work with you to supercharge your brand with the feeling that comes from within your people – because we believe you can’t have one without the other. You’ll be able to keep up with our series of blogs and guides on trust, freedom and flexibility over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment. And if you’re ready to harness the power of oxytocin in your organisation, get in touch with us today.