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Generator: Trust in the Workplace

Posted/ 14 February 2012

Geyer has established a new research partnership with Swinburne University and Great Place to Work. The first project for the research team will focus on the relationship between trust and the physical environment. This initiative follows on from the preliminary findings from last year’s Generator forum.


Research has shown that trust is an essential ingredient for performance in a work environment. Not only does it provide the framework for personal interactions, but contributes to our acceptance of technology, work processes and new ideas.


Generator was an interactive forum exploring the impact of trust in the workplace and how organisational structure, leadership, technology and the physical environment can assist organisations in achieving trust. The forum sought to identify how trust is established, maintained and broken, and how trust can be sustained as an organisation grows and diversifies. Generator’s half-day program brought together industry experts and senior representatives from leading regional and multinational companies. The half-day program provided the opportunity for participants to develop new ideas and debate the knowledge offered by four expert speakers. Each speaker raised critical issues relating to trust in the workplace, including human behaviour, management, design and innovation.


01. ‘Why trust?’

Zrinka Lovrencic, director of Great Place to Work, focused on why trust is important in the workplace and identified its success as a balance of three major factors for any employee; management, job and other employees. Management strategies that effectively build trust rely on credibility, respect and fairness. Great leaders must communicate the value of participation in the workplace and invite everyone to be a part of the journey.


02. Trust in an organisational setting

Russell Hassler, managing director of Odyssey Leadership, outlined the concept of developing teams and structures to build trust. In recent years, many organisations have fragmented; building trust as a leader or employee of a distributed workforce when you are not visible requires new skills. It is important to be aware of both internal and external forces that can engender or inhibit feelings of trust.


03. Trust and the physical environment

Dr Brian Purdey, managing director of Kodo Pacific, discussed using the physical environment to encourage trust relationships. Workspace design and management can influence the gap between performance and expectation, which leads to greater trust. Awareness of the workplace is essential for performance in complex, dynamic and information rich work environments.


04. Trust and the virtual world

Rob Cook, head of services for Innovation Foundry, Smart Services CRC, explored the way in which we can build trust relationships through a technology interface. In order to maintain trust, it is important that virtual communication is not viewed as a replacement for face-to-face interaction, but as a supplement.