Resource management software reflecting trust

February 7, 2017

Niki Saukolin

How can the process of managing knowledge workers reflect trust in those being managed? This was the question that my previous blog post ended with, and one which I’ll try to address at some length here.

The reason why this question is relevant is because trust is a key element in the modern workplace. Employees working in a trusting work environment enjoy increased well-being and are able to perform much better. This assertion is well researched and documented in countless studies and books. I most recently came across the strength of the assertion while reading the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeow, and the Harward Business Review Article “The Connection Between Employee Trust and Financial Performance” by Stephen M. R. Covey and Douglas R. Conant. As evidenced by my readings, employees working in a trusting environment are capable of delivering significantly higher performance (as much as 2x higher than people working in a non-trusting environment), while companies with a trusting work environment are highly more likely to deliver above average financial returns (2.5 times more likely to be high performing revenue organizations).

This is all well and good, but what do processes have to do with trust? Isn’t leadership the key to a trusting work environment, not processes?

In laying the foundation for a trusting work environment leadership is surely key. Without the managers in your organization adopting a management style that fosters trust, there will be none. However, for the trusting environment to permeate the organization a culture of transparency, responsibility and accountability is necessary. Each individual in the organization must know his or her role, they need to have relevant information available to them, they need the ability to influence relevant areas, and they need to be held accountable for doing their work. Only once all of this is in place will the organization truly be prepared for greatness.

In achieving and maintaining transparency, responsibility and accountability, processes and tools can provide significant support and indeed reflect the trust in the employees that the leadership is fostering.

This blog is being written on a website promoting a resource management solution, so it makes sense we look into how a personnel resource management solution relates to the development of a trusting work environment.

It is too often the case that management software is only being used by managers. Resource management software is no different. Managers make decisions about employee’s future work, and determine who will do what, when and where, but the employees being planned have no idea about these decisions until much later when they are being informed by someone. On the other hand, an employee is the first person to know that something is not going as planned on a job, there maybe delays or workload changes, but the only way to communicate this to their managers is by direct contact and it frequently happens that this contact is never made. These are just a couple of ways in which personnel resource management process can hinder a trusting work environment and reduce performance.

By providing each person in an organization access to management software, by enabling transparency, responsibility and accountability using modern digital solutions, companies can effectively support the development and maintenance of a trusting work environment. This of course does not mean that everyone must see everything, but each employee should be trusted with the information related directly to them and hopefully given the opportunity to assert some influence instead of only being handed down responsibilities.

To address trust from a systems and processes point of view makes a lot of sense. In today’s world it is entirely possible for the forward looking to demand that they get benefit from a solution that goes beyond the primary purpose of that solution. The primary purpose for investing in a resource management solution is to give management control over resource need and availability. When used smartly though, that same resource management solution can support building a trusting work environment and directly contribute to improved performance.

About the author

Niki Saukolin

Niki is the head of business development at Promineo and a software industry veteran with over 20 years of experience working with enterprise customers.

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