Getting the best out of your people – It’s a Question Of Trust

When I wrote last week about looking at a different way of rewarding recruiters so that they focused energies not just on the deal but on developing deeper, collaborative relationships with clients, and on building and engaging with their candidate community – almost certainly 2 key objectives of the future recruiter (hey, did I miss a rhyming alternative blog name there??!) – I didn’t expect everyone to agree.

I got some encouraging comments on the blog, and by tweet and e-mail, and I did get the ‘so does that mean if candidates like you but you don’t bill any fees then you still get a bonus’ objection.

My reply to this was that if a consultant was delivering to their clients and candidates what they really wanted, then they would be billing…it was all a question of trusting your consultants.

Move forward to the weekend and I was involved in 2 particular conversations on twitter that bought home to me the question of trust.

Firstly a quite detailed debate (due to run and run) about Social Media strategy…who, if anyone, owns it, who controls it, and what policies/guidelines should companies create for its employees.

Now this topic has already been written about on many blogs, and debated at many conferences and unconferences, and will continue to be debated, and there is a great summary of the conversation on the unblog for the London Recruitment Unconference…there you will see me say “management need clear vision on SM for their business & then have to trust employees to be professional

Some of you may follow Gareth Jones (@garelaos) on Twitter…he’s the director I report to and he has given me complete freedom over how I build my professional social media profile. He’s encouraged me to blog, and is happy that my blog and twitter feed are visible to all candidates and clients through my LinkedIn profile. I’ve offered him the chance to read my posts in advance…to approve or censor them if he wants…but he said no…just post it and get in the conversation. Clearly he trusts me

The second conversation was about Power Naps, and how Power Naps Rule! Karla Porter sums it all up here in a great post, and it got me thinking…how many companies have a quiet room, or put aside space where employees could take a short Power Nap to keep them fresh for the rest of the day? How many businesses would TRUST their employees enough? It’s helped Presidents and Prime Ministers rule our countries, but would management allow it for their workforce?

It’s all a question of TRUST…if you want to get the best out of your people, trust them. Whether you’re looking for sales, trying to build a social media profile, or looking to get maximum performance…loosen the rules, guidelines, structures and KPIs…and trust your best people.


6 thoughts on “Getting the best out of your people – It’s a Question Of Trust

  1. Thanks for the plug Mervyn! But as you say it is all down to trust. It helps that i know you well of course, and have been witness to your client and candidate relationship building activities for some years.

    I guess Blogging and tweeting allows more of the recruiters personality and opinion to show through which i don’t think is a bad thing, unless of course you are an idiot or bigot! To quote Tammy Colson who left a comment on your previous post:

    “the cuthroat nature of the business made it nearly impossible for me to provide customer service to my clients. Success is based on the numbers, and it seemed more like running with the bulls than building relationships.”

    Consequently, a lot of recruitment companies employ the wrong type of people who you definitely wouldn’t want to allow to blog and tweet because they are idiots or bigots, or they would behave inappropriately because they are bitter about the way they are treated by their employer – a very key point which many recruitment company owners would be advised to think about.

    Trust in general is one of the key components to running a successful business, to unlocking innovation and capability, particularly in a difficult economy. Unfortunately, most executives seem to think that trust is a gift only to be shared amongst themselves.

  2. This is so true! There is a blog called HOK life which I have referenced in a soon to be publshed piece in the new ezine HR Weekly. HOK is a global architecture firm headquartered in the US, who launched a blog called Life at HOK ( as a way of showing the people behind the brand.
    The key to the success of the blog was the identification of internal champions – employees who could blog on a regular basis from their own experience of working at HOK – and who had the freedom to do so becuase their employer trusted them! So very importantly – it’s the voice of their employees – not leadership speak! And it;s warts and all! I think that employers who create en environemtn for grown ups will be rewarded!

  3. Great blog post Merv! As is screamingly obvious from my comments [read as: rant] on the Unblog for #TRULondon I feel rather passionately about trust! I’ll spare you a re-hash of my argument as it’s all on the blog! 😉

    Trust goes beyond social media as well though. Where I work is rather unusual from a recruitment perspective: We don’t have reams of crazy KPIs and targets; we have a job to do and we’re trusted to do it in the most commercial and efficient way. Obviously our performance is reviewed, but I don’t have to make X calls a day or register X number of candidates or make X client visits a week. It’s left up to me to judge whether my focus should be on sourcing candidates, speaking to clients or doing something totally different. Likewise, if I’m writing a e-shot or an advert then 90% of the time it requires no-ones approval but my own. If I show it to my manager it’s more likely because I’d appreciate some constructive feedback than because I need approval.

    Sadly though, I do see the other side of the trust issue. Though you and I and many other recruiters (and employees in general) may be trustworthy, there are also those who aren’t. It is these people who ruin it for everyone else. Not only do they abuse the system but they also demotivate the hardworkers and achievers with their poor work ethic and exploitation of the trust.

    So I think you definitely have to trust your employees… but I do think that sometimes that trust needs to be earned a little first.

  4. Loved this post Mervyn! This is a timeless blog topic. Fast forward to Sept 2010 and this is still relevant. We thank Gareth for trusting. Great comments here.

    Trust + Power Naps are very important to creating a healthy workplace culture. Interesting – these two actions seem elementary but really we must sleep + trust to be successful both in life and career. Interesting tack to link these two concepts.

    I agree with my talented friends Wendy Jacob and Karla Porter – the first step is always trust. Empowering employees to become brand ambassadors via social media channels takes ample time + open communication from leaders. And of course, belief that people will use their best judgment and take the time to find their own unique voice.

    1. Too kind Meghan! Businesses should be defined by their people, and now there are so many channels for the people to communicate! Without trust and empowerment you end up trying to police the conversation, which in turn will usually lead to lead to the wrong message IMO!

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