Trust in the Workplace: Is It Possible?

Everyone wants to be trusted for their character and their competence. We all know it. But in our relationships with each other, we often say or do things that can easily undermine trust.

man and woman talking with people in the background

Sometimes mistrust is due to miscommunication or misunderstanding. Sometimes it is due to our past experiences. Other times it is due to lack of consideration toward the other person.

And sometimes the very way we conduct our work may affect the culture of trust that we want to promote.

I remember how, as the Haiti Country Director, I used to get so many questions from pastors and church staff regarding our audit and reporting processes. They would often imply that the reason we audited them was because we did not trust them.

I struggled a lot with these remarks, and was never sure how to respond. Have you ever received similar comments? I would love to hear how you answered them.

I’m also aware that, in the developing world, some people question the necessity for performance reviews in the work environment. They wonder whether the reviews are conducted because we do not trust them to accomplish what they say they will do.

So let me ask you these questions:

  • Is there room for audits and performance reviews in an environment of trust?
  • Is it possible to use these processes to reinforce trust? If so, how?

13 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Old Snipe October 4, 2011

    Trust is something that has been lost for a long time. The United States is full of heavily corrupt people that over the years have given us an image of negativity and poor credit. Beginning at the top with our government onto the people that follow their example audits and performance reviews need to be in place because regardless of how responsible and individual is, there’s always going to be the stigma/stereotype that they are out for themselves and unless they prove themselves to many others, there’s just no chance or very little chance that trust can be vested on someone. Trust in these days is a risk factor and it must be treated as such.

  2. Hyunah Lee October 2, 2011

    I wish more people is going to be interested in this blog and talk about more about our thinking and share our mind to God. Just so excited about increasing attention.
    As Corinthians says, I also think love is not all about emotion or feeling. I think it is about our decision. We decide to help someone it never brings happy and joy but it would help God to work on those children when we genuine do it with God’s compassion. God loves we help someone but we should be aware of our mind. God checks our mind He knows everything about us. We can’t do anything before Him and let Him go and do first and if we are humble in front of Him He will work. So basically I try not to think much about how my money work the organization. Because I am doing it with Him, not by myself, for sure. If they use my money in some wrong way, they are going to be in trial and when He come He will judge them. I decide so I do and I will keep on pray for the Compassion.

  3. jenny October 2, 2011

    When I audit in my industry, I approach it with an attitude of wanting to help the organization improve and not in judgement. We should all want to improve and be open to feedback. I also look for best practices. Maybe a site does something exceptionally well that you might want to share with other sites or recognize publicly.

  4. Kim Edge October 2, 2011

    Every other commenter is so polite! I would say, when it comes to trusting someone with money, the temptations are so great that no, I do not trust anyone and there must be oversight and compliance with rules. Of course Compassion’s rules should be standardized and enforced equally on everyone, and if a church partner feels that they have been evaluated unfairly there should be a grievance process; but haven’t we learned that from Bible times until today that it is still human nature to fall into temptation? Surely the pastors and church staff agreed to the oversight rules when they agreed to partner with Compassion. More tactful than my blurting out, “No I don’t trust you!” would be to reassure them that “Everyone working with Compassion must be reviewed for compliance with these rules. We strive to be fair and helpful.”

    “In God We Trust” is printed on our U.S. money and one business I knew got passed so many bad checks they posted a sign next to the cash register that read “In God We Trust–All Others Pay Cash” 😀

  5. Doug October 2, 2011

    Compassion International is a valuable resource that God uses to help further His kingdom as it helps the church show love to the poor. It does what it says it does in the way it says it does it. This way of doing it’s job stands out in a lost world full of empty promises and corruption. There is a need for God’s people and organizations to do things “with excellence” and in a way where no suspicion need arise. The audits are not a sign of a lack of trust, but rather a tool Comp. Int’l. uses to continually show itself as a legitimate tool for dispensing God’s love.

  6. Hyunah Lee October 2, 2011

    In my personal childlike view, even though we don’t know all the detail how my money flow into or through the children who I want to support, just believe that Jesus does help them and Jesus also definitely involved with the Compassion. I think even though we are attempted to doubt about our each every relationships we push ourselves forward and pray and decide to believe in Jesus is alive. If we are totally in Him He will give us peace from God and He will arrange all situations and all relationships. This is the thing what I learn from the Bible. As Paul says just carry out those each every Scriptures in this world. God knows everything, if we trust Him them we are free from everything. I don’t want to help children with my compassion. I am going to help children with His Compassion. So my donation is going to be the good in Jesus. Sorry for my broken English. (:

  7. Maria October 1, 2011

    This is always a tough subject. I would emphasize the purpose of the partnership. I agree with all of the aforementioned comments and would also add that the audit is one of the ways the partnership is in play. It is not to point out fault by any means, but it is meant to look at areas where support is needed Compassion can step in or the church partner etc…. We all have strengths and weaknesses…. and we are also held accountable for how the services are provided. When it comes to serving God and bringing Him the glory, there isn’t room for shirking anything. Audits help close the gap on weaknesses to help ensure integrity all around and to create seamless service for all involved. Hope this helps!

  8. Mike Stephens October 1, 2011

    I think it is a great question b/c when I train for triathlons I often do my own personal internal audit on how many hours I trained in a certain week etc. and how many miles I did. I often go out of my way to inject my training into conversations with my friends b/c I know I am capable of doing more and I know my talking about training, I will hopefully eventually do more as I hope and want to. so if anyone asks me how my training is going and seems like they want to listen I often gladly tell them what I did or what I wish I would have done more of etc.

    But this analogy doesn’t apply directly to the question I think it does a little. But the reason I want my training “audited” is b/c I will truly know what I am doing and can tell myself you are not being serious about what you are trying to do. If I want to cross the finish line first in certain races and audit is the least of my worries. It is a necessity. If I am audited and see I did less than half of what I set out to do one week I can process that and say well this next week I better do more or I can expect to finish worse in the race. From my perspective if I care about what I am doing I need to know “what” I am doing b/c it MATTERS on race day 😉 and judgement day 😉

  9. Laura Dorsey October 1, 2011

    I work in the securities industry, for an investment company and audits and accountability are just part of life. For years I noticed that some branches lived in fear of audits…just the word made them a nervous wreck. When the auditor came…..surprise visits that required everything to stop for a day or more, often the financial advisors and office administrators did the very least possible to help, because they were afraid. Afraid of having missed something that they should have done, afraid of the discovery of some documentation that wasn’t there, afraid of looking bad to the company or to their clients. I learned to welcome the auditors and thank them for doing their job well-because I wanted to know if something I was doing was not correct, so I could change it, and I told them this. I mentored new advisers and administrators for a few years and this is what I told them as well, that if your attitude is that you are being punished and your valuable time is being taken up you are not helping with the audit that protects everyone. If you have a true attitude of wanting everything to be done correctly, honestly etc. then this is going to show….if an auditor finds something that needs to be done differently then this is a good thing for you! What if it had NOT been found and a bad practice were to continue? An auditor is there to help look for things which need improvement….don’t we all need improvement somewhere?
    I would tell these pastors that you are their biggest fan, you are on their side and want to do all things to help, and that sometimes includes correction-it’s not a bad thing. God corrects us….He loves us! I would not let any auditor go in that had a wrong attitude about the way that they treat people and really train them to encourage an attitude of openness and transparency in all of their dealings. Be ready to be examined. Be available to answer all questions, even if the answer is not good-that’s a starting point for making a plan for improvement. Ask them if they think it would be right to have no accountability, no boundaries, no rules……we are all sinners, capable of anything and we need this from each other, don’t we?

  10. David Hawley October 1, 2011

    Audits don’t measure good intentions, they measure adequacy of processes and compliance with them. An individual may be pushed by external factors beyond his or her control to fail to do what is really required.
    Audits also build trust because they contribute to transparency and align objectives.

  11. Nancy Young October 1, 2011

    Please tell your people that I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting people to sponsor children is they don’t always “trust” us. By being able to tell them about our audits and the way we work is a way to gain their “trust”. It is not that you don’t trust your people in the field, it is just Compassion’s way of assuring that the money people entrust to us is being used as it should. Boy, I used the work “trust” alot, didn’t I? Don’t know if that helps or not, but I “trust” it did. Ha.

  12. Kees Boer October 1, 2011

    That’s a good question. Well, the way I would answer that is that it might not even be just that we don’t trust the church partner. We do this to help the children. I’m an advocate, which means that I look for sponsors for children. Just even yesterday, I shared with someone how that the centers get audited regularly. This gives credibility to the prospective sponsors and they are more confident to sponsor a child. If the integrity was not such a high priority for Compassion, there would be a huge number of sponsors, that would drop off.

    When I go visit the child, I have a representative with me from Compassion. I know that Compassion trusts me, but it is a good guideline, because there are some sponsors (very rare) that wouldn’t be good to leave alone with the child. Also, there is the very real possibility that the child or their family or maybe even the church partner could request money from that sponsor. So, it is to protect both the sponsor and the child. And in this sense, the audits protect the church partner too, because if there were accusations of lack of integrity, the church partner had that independent audit and they can point to the audit and it would be an allibi (How do you spell that?)

    So, it protects them too and it also needs to be done with every church partner, otherwise, it would open up Compassion to the accusation of being partial.

    So, ultimately, it’s like when I go on a plane, I know I’m not a terrorist, but I’m still glad that they screen me, because that means, I can trust to a reasonable degree that I won’t have to share that plane with someone, who is interested in High-Jacking that plane. (Generally, I don’t have time that get involved in a High Jack situation. LOL)

  13. Jeannette Peterson October 1, 2011

    It is a pity that we have to do audits and performance reviews, but I have had issues with other organisations.
    My sponsored child (from another organisation) had left school and left their program but I was not informed until I started jumping up and down as the handwriting had changed dramatically in the letters she was supposed to be writing.
    There was other issues with this other organisation, I have heard other stories about mismanagement of funds but never about compassion.
    I know that my money is in good hands due to your strict criteria.

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