The cost of mistrust in the company 
Why it makes business sense to build trust

How often have you heard that trust is of fundamental importance for a company? 

You have certainly often been offered training to strengthen the ability to work in a team or to improve trust. You are probably also aware that trust is important in a company, especially with regard to your employees. But have you ever figured out how much effective costs you will face with a lack of trust? How much would you invest to improve trust in your company? We have made this calculation once.

Trust in the work environment means less stress for everyone, no matter in which position. When colleagues trust each other, they are more open. They do not have the feeling of constant control and live an honest error and feedback culture. The employee works more freely and therefore also better. 

In an atmosphere of trust, employees are more committed and have more energy at work. This can even have an effect on private life and increase general satisfaction. 

The above-mentioned advantages of a trusting atmosphere must certainly be taken into account when making decisions, but would you invest extra money for this? I'll tell you why you should definitely do that!

If there is an unsatisfactory basis of trust in a company, employees do not realise their full potential. They do not work at their full potential and are therefore slower in their daily tasks.

Think about how much more could happen in a company if all employees were to realize their full potential? 

In other words, you could increase your profits by creating a trusting work environment. But trust can not only affect your revenue and profit margin, it can also save you significant costs. 

Companies that are characterized by mistrust are confronted with an increased control and monitoring effort. Not only the work task itself is monitored (e.g. the reading of important customer e-mails), but also the time worked. Don't you think so? What seems to be no longer an issue for many companies with time clocks and trust-based working hours, still occupies countless, especially smaller companies without regulated time recording. Such controls are time-consuming and expensive. Let's assume that the boss of a 12-employee company invests only 15 minutes per employee per week to check the work content. In addition, a total of 15 minutes is spent on tracking the entire team's working time. That's 6 hours a week, 24 hours a month. The boss spends roughly 24 working days a year monitoring his or her employees. 

But not only control and monitoring is a result of mistrust, but also the retention of information. When colleagues don't trust each other, important information is often withheld. In the worst case, the non-existent exchange of information means double working hours. This is, of course, directly reflected in personnel costs. 

If we assume that employees spend approximately ½ day per month working on information and do not share it, 6 working days per month and 72 working days per year are lost at the example company.

Mistrust in companies also has an impact on workers' health. There are fewer sick days and burnouts in trusting work environments, which has been proven many times. The short-term as well as the long-term loss of a worker due to illness causes enormous economic costs.

According to Spiegel online, the average German employee is ill for 19.5 days a year. According to Havard Business Review, the number of sick days can be reduced by 13% through trust in the company. This means 2.5 fewer sick days per year for each employee. For the example company, this would mean a reduction of 18 sick days per year.

This brings the total number of lost days per year to 124, which are attributable to a lack of trust. Assuming an average salary of €50,000, this results in an average daily rate of around €217. Thus with the example enterprise mentioned approximately 27,000€ are lost annually by distrust. And now you imagine times, how much in a 50 persons or even 500 persons enterprise is lost by distrust?

 

Improving trust may be a trend at the moment, but as you can see it is worth it. Not only for the good of your employee, but also for your accounts. Maybe you are not directly increasing your sales, but you are definitely reducing your costs. 

Frederike Otto

Werkstudentin Die CONUFACTUR