Your top talent is also very often the hardest to replace, so how can you make sure you hang onto them? 

Well not, according to the research, by offering incentives such as pay rises or a faster, sleeker company car. No, as we’ve seen in the news this week trust is very important and the main reason top staff quit is because colleagues stop trusting their leaders.

More attractive renumeration packages might keep people on board in the short term, but our competitors may always match the latest package we can put on the table. ‘Trust’ is what makes or breaks the deal: if your top people don’t trust you to walk your talk, demonstrate your ability, connect with your people, keep your commitments and show yourself to be accountable, then they’re likely to walk.

A while back, The Ken Blanchard Companies took a straw of people attending an online Webinar, asking them questions related to trust. The statistics were shocking: 68% had been the victims of rumours and gossip and 47% acknowledged that secrecy & hidden agendas were alive and kicking within their organisations. Dishonesty or spin were familiar to 34% of participants; arrogance or aloofness resonated with 38%; and 58% reported lack of open communications & collaboration. Taking all that into consideration, it was perhaps surprising that only 52% believed their organisations had suffered as a result of low employee engagement or commitment!

We ignore trust at our peril. Usually organisations only think about it when it’s gone but leaders should always make it a top priority.

Building and nurturing high-trust relationships with key talent is essential for keeping them on your team, so here are eight top tips to help you build trust and retain your essential talent:

1.     Demonstrate Trust by giving people freedom. Strict rules, policies, and procedures to protect against a few bad apples alienates the majority who need and deserve to be trusted.

2.     Share Information: it contributes to a sense of “we’re in this together,” and helps people think more broadly about the organisation and their role in relation to the goals and resources of others.

3.     Tell it how it is. The number one quality people want in their leader is integrity. They want to follow someone they trust. Business leaders who tell it straight, who are open and honest even about bad news, develop the trust essential for strong, long-term relationships.

4.     Provide opportunities for everyone to win. Don’t create situations when your people are forced to compete against each other or all that will happen is they start looking out for number one and you will lose everyone’s trust

5.     Give regular feedback.  Don’t wait until the next performance review, do it now.

6.     Resolve concerns head on. Put challenges on the table and give people an opportunity to influence the process. Expand buy-in by involving, rather than controlling people. It will build your credibility as a leader as well as boost trust.

7.     Fess up when you’ve made a mistake. Leaders who admit mistakes when they’re wrong are not seen as weak but as having integrity and being trustworthy.

8.     Walk your talk. Be a shining example of the vision and values of your organisation, a leader who is trusted, rather than an untrustworthy one who says one thing and does another.

Regardless of whatever talent management and retention strategies you employ, building a foundation of trust is critical to the success of keeping your best performers. It a case of either build trust today or lose talent tomorrow.