Building Performance and Trust During Troubled Times

There is a strong sentiment of anxiety running rapid in many work environments today. Whether your own organization has experienced a layoff or not, your employees are worrying about their own job stability, the economy and how they'll ever be able to afford to retire.

Most workplaces have long since ceased being "family-like" environments or stable life-long commitments as they once were in the past. This has lead to an erosion of trust which is still critical for a healthy, high-performing work environment. Today, to build effective teams and achieve strategic goals, managers and employees alike need a simple, trustworthy process to support great performance.

Practically speaking, what can organizations do to stay focused, improve performance and build trust? Below are two simple tips.

Tip One: Establish The Pact

At its simplest, making the pact is the process of creating a mutual commitment between the boss and the individual employee that aligns the employee with organizational goals and the leader with the employee’s goals.
To create the pact:

  • Review the job description and other expectations around your employee’s performance. Work with her to create an annual performance plan with explicit and measurable objectives/actions.
  • Share with the employee the organizational goals and help her understand how her daily work contributes to that bigger picture.
  • Now that the employee knows what you expect of her, it is time for you to learn more about what she wants from the job and her work. This means establishing an honest dialogue and exploring the employee’s needs, aspirations and preferences.
  • Make the initial pact: Identify specific actions you can do to help support the employee reach her own goals.
  • Make an explicit agreement (the pact) that you will support each other’s goals–meaning you support the employee’s goals and the employee supports the organizational goals.

Tip Two: Consistent Performance Support

Often missing in the typical performance management cycle is a solid performance support process that ensures leaders have regular dialogue and provide consistent guidance to support employees in successful performance.

In essence, this support process means meeting with your employee regularly to informally discuss specific areas of the employee’s plan and how things are going. Also, follow up on your pact to support. These regular meetings are the mainstay of both building a trusting and supportive work environment, and exemplary organizational performance.


Making a pact can make both leaders and employees better. Consistent application of a simple, clear process will help guide you through difficult times and position your organization for utmost success.