The importance of building trust in your organisation

The importance of building trust in your organisation

In this month’s blog, I am going to explain the trust equation and how it is applicable to you as an individual and your organisation.

Trust is the foundation of strong relationships. It’s critical to us at P3 Business Care that we establish trust with our clients, employees and their family members. Without trust, any relationship is weak. But trust has to be earned. It is not given. Trust is a feeling – and the trust equation is the best explanation that I have seen, which explains this feeling. If you understand this equation, you can use it to help drive your decision-making.

The three numerators are credibility, reliability and intimacy. We want to increase these to increase trust. The denominator is self-orientation, which we want to reduce to increase trust. Let me explain each one in detail.

The Trust Formula

The Trust Equation


Credibility is simply ‘do they know what they are talking about?’ We trust people like doctors and lawyers because they are trained professionals. They’ve had to pass exams and been tested to make sure that they are credible and that they have a level of knowledge which allows them to advise people. We trust them as experts in their field.


Trust equals credibility plus reliability. Reliability is about delivering on their promises. Does this person deliver on their commitments or do they consistently fail in this regard? Repeated failures to do what you say you are going to do undermine trust. If someone is consistently late to meetings where a time has been clearly agreed, it erodes trust. When they say they’ll meet you at a time and a place there is a part of you that knows it is unlikely to happen – this is evidence of a reduced level of trust in the individual. If they can’t get to a meeting on time, what else are they going to fail to do?

Sometimes people are their own worst enemies when it comes to this. They commit to help or support others but because they’re too busy or disorganised, they fail to deliver. They don’t want to fail, and they have the best intentions, but the effect of their actions have an impact on trust people place in them.


Intimacy is about whether you can trust someone to keep something confidential. Do you trust them with information, or have they let you down in this regard? Confidentiality is enshrined in relationships that doctors and lawyers have with their patients and clients and its the same for our P3 Business Partners and the employees we support. This is done to protect the individual but also to maintain trust in the professions and our client service. If someone breaks this trust, then there will be consequences – everyone is clear on this from the start.


Self-Orientation is the only denominator in the equation. It asks – where does this person’s focus lie? Do they have my best interests at heart or are they doing this for themselves? Are they really helping me or are they simply doing this to get something out of it? If people sense that you don’t care about them or their needs, they will not trust you.

This goes for organisations as well. Does my organisation train me and help me to improve so that I can advance my career? Or does it just expect me to deliver for which I get a salary in return?

These factors are worth considering from a personal point of view as well as from the perspective of your organisation. People don’t often trust institutions or organisations – they trust the people in those organisations. Companies are often described as credible and reliable – the first two elements of the trust equation. The last two are specific to individuals.

People have to demonstrate intimacy and self-orientation. It is why doctors have a simple criteria for making decisions – ‘put the patient’s welfare first’. The focus of P3 Business Care is to bring personal and proactive support to employees working in partnership with the company. It is vital to the long-term success of our business and any organisation and is part of a virtuous circle. Many companies say that ‘our staff are our most important asset’’ but if they don’t back it up with their actions – it undermines trust in their organisation.

Trust in business requires good scores across the board. Leadership requires us to live these values by example. If we do, they percolate through the organisation resulting in a ‘trusted company or brand’. This builds long-term success.

Building trust in your team

An article posted by Forbes articulates ten ways to build trust in your team

  1. Talk about fear and trust as business topics
  2. Stop having a blame and shame culture
  3. Review your employee handbook and policies- can you reduce it?
  4. Ensure senior managers are regularly face to face with employees
  5. Value your employees as people not for what they do
  6. Role model appropriate leadership
  7. Admit mistakes either corporate or personal
  8. Use a human voice in communication, get rid of jargon!
  9. Ask employees how they are and get feedback around their roles
  10. Be honest!

About P3 Business Care

P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Visiting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive support to your employees working in partnership with the company. We develop trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become absence or staff turnover.  Read more about our services here