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William Craig Reed: Deloitte Says High Trust is Critical for Business Success

William Craig Reed: Deloitte Says High Trust is Critical for Business Success
Photo: Unsplash.com

By: William Craig Reed

According to research from Deloitte, high-trust firms outperform competitors by 400 percent. High-trust workers also achieve 200 percent more customer satisfaction and are almost 80 percent more motivated. These eye-opening stats were derived from over 350,000 responses across 500 brands. 

Gallup’s findings are alarming, indicating a significant disconnect between workers and their employers. The State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report highlights the substantial financial implications of low engagement and trust within organizations, with an estimated annual loss of nearly $9 trillion. The statistics paint a stark picture, with only a minority of workers fully engaged and trusting their leaders. The prevalence of “Quiet Quitting” and other actions detrimental to employers further exacerbates the issue. Considering the immense investment in talent acquisition, which amounts to billions of dollars globally, the contrast between recruitment costs and the losses incurred due to low engagement underscores the urgent need for organizations to prioritize building trust and fostering employee engagement.

Recruiters face a daunting challenge as they strive to find suitable candidates, with statistics revealing a discouraging reality. Despite their efforts, almost 90 percent of the exceptional individuals they identify end up being hired by other companies. Even for those fortunate enough to secure a position, the odds are stacked against them, with over 80 percent failing within the first 18 months, as reported by research from Leadership IQ. Harvard University and LinkedIn studies echo these findings, attributing the majority of new hire failures to deficiencies in soft skills rather than technical proficiency. This underscores the importance of striking the right balance between hard and soft skills in the recruitment process.

Studies from Harvard, LinkedIn, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and many others combine to show ten soft skills that are critical to success, including Adaptability, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Problem Solving, Trust, and others. Business leader and author Peter Drucker once said that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. But how do you measure these ten soft skills, including trust?

High Trust = Oxytocin

Dr. Paul Zak integrates his research on the topic alongside studies conducted by Dr. German Fresco, a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. and the chief science officer at RemotelyMe, a veteran-owned company specializing in the measurement and enhancement of soft skills and trust factors. Their research underscores the direct correlation between trust and oxytocin, a brain chemical. High levels of oxytocin foster trust, while lower levels diminish it. They highlight ten effective strategies for increasing oxytocin and consequently trust, including facing challenge stress, promoting transparency, and even indulging in certain types of cheese, which contain tyrosine crystals, an amino acid component of oxytocin. 

In the field of neuroscience, it is widely accepted that the human brain comprises three distinct parts: the neocortex, responsible for logical thinking; the reptilian complex, governing instinctual behavior; and the limbic system, regulating emotions. Research indicates that only about 10 percent of decision-making stems from the logical brain, which predominantly processes text, words, and numbers. This poses a challenge for personality and assessment tests that rely heavily on text-based questions, as they fail to engage the visual and auditory preferences of the other two brain components. With completion rates hovering around 66 percent and limited validity, such tests often fall short in assessing essential qualities like trust and soft skills. As such, there is growing interest in exploring alternative approaches, such as visual neuroscience, to discern these attributes more accurately. It may be time to move beyond traditional text-based assessments towards more modern and comprehensive methodologies.

Improving Soft Skills and Trust Factors

Once these factors are measured, how can they be improved? Firms rely on traditional learning and development platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning or Udemy. While these offer excellent courses, including those for soft skills, most courses are designed to bolster hard skills. There are virtually no courses designed to improve trust factors, arguably the most important soft skill. Also, they don’t offer personalized plans related to improving the specific ten soft skills noted earlier. Typically, HR professionals send employees an email inviting them to explore courses on their own. A search on Udemy for soft skills renders over 1,000 courses, and most are generic. Employees must spend hours deciding which courses to take to improve specific soft skills.

It may also be time to move beyond yesteryears’ learning and development practices and create personalized curriculums that first measure the ten critical soft skills needed for success, including trust, and then prescribe specific courses designed to improve ones that are low. Studies show that over 95 percent of employees expect and appreciate career development benefits, but most are not thrilled with current approaches. HR executives are struggling to keep the best employees because replacing them is expensive and time-consuming. Rather than offering ping pong tables and sugar snacks in breakrooms that remote and hybrid employees don’t care about, perhaps it’s time to focus on helping teams measure and improve important soft skills, including trust factors.

William Craig Reed is the New York Times bestselling author of The 7 Secrets of Neuron Leadership and Start With Who, a book praised by Ken Blanchard, co-author of The New One Minute Manager.

William Craig Reed: Deloitte Says High Trust is Critical for Business Success

Photo Courtesy: William Craig Reed

 

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