Get Your People Back to Work by Winning Their Trust

Hello I’m Nicola from The People Mentor  

In this podcast, I want to talk about an issue that a lot of managers and business owners are dealing with at the moment.  

Their employees just don’t want to come back to work.  

They’ve spent months on furlough or working at home and whether it’s because of fear of the virus, issues with childcare, struggling with the fallout from lockdown, or they’ve discovered that working from home just suits them better, they’re loath to return.  

This presents a big problem.  

After Covid-19, you just want to get the business back on its feet, but you can’t do that without a team.

So what do you do? 

You have to show employees that you care about their well-being and that they have a safe and supportive working environment to come back to.  

Trust is the thing that’s going to come into play here, and there are a few things that employees need to be able to trust right now.  

They need to trust that: 

They can return to work safely 

They know everything they need to know 

They will be listened to  

You care about their safety and wellbeing  

If you can win your employees’ trust, you stand a much better chance of persuading them to return to work, and not only that, to do their best for you when they do come back.  

A business that is built on trust is one that can weather any storm and has everyone pulling in the same direction.  

Where there’s a strong sense of trust, there’s also: 

Better morale 

More of a focus on ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ 

Better and easier decision-making 

How much do we all need these right now?! 

As we rebuild businesses after Covid-19, it’s a great opportunity to think about our relationships with our people. A lot of this rebuilding is going to be around trust; people are fearful and they’ve been through a lot these past few months.  

You want them to see your ‘human’ face right now.

You need to be the person who understands what people have been through and empathises, not the boss who is just desperate to re-open and more concerned about the bottom line than their safety.  

Remember, without people, you have no business.  

So in the short term, if you have people not wanting to return to work, you need to work on rebuilding trust. 

You need to help them trust that it’s safe to come back to work by telling them exactly what you’ve done, and are doing to keep them safe. You need to ask them what would help them feel safe, and you need to involve them in developing and implementing any new health and safety processes.  

You need them to trust that you’re being completely transparent and there’s nothing they’re being kept in the dark about by sharing all of the information you know and the details of any plans and changes to working practices.  

You need them to trust that they’ll be listened to by letting them know your door is open and inviting them to share any questions, ideas, or concerns.  

You need to help them trust that you care about their safety and well-being, by being compassionate and understanding, and telling them that you’re willing to work with them to negotiate a safe return to work.  

Remember that trust is built on actions, not just words. Employees will remember the kind of leader you were during this difficult time, and they’ll remember what you did rather than what you said you would do.  

It’s not about working hard to gain people’s trust just to get them back to work either. A good leader knows that good working relationships aren’t formed overnight, it’s a long haul. Especially after such a difficult time.  

Even after these months have passed, trust is something that should always be worked on and maintained by; 

Giving employees more responsibility and encouraging ownership of tasks. 

Allowing employees to openly share their ideas and concerns. 

Communicating openly and honestly with employees.  

Offering constructive feedback and giving praise where it’s due.  

Admitting when you’ve made a mistake.  

Letting people know that your door is always open.  

All of these are important when it comes to building trust and harmonious relationships with employees, but they’re especially important after such an uncertain and challenging time.  

When you rebuild the business after Covid-19, your focus should always be on people first, because, without good people, a profitable and successful business cannot exist.  


Many managers and business owners I’ve spoken to are telling me that they’ve got employees who don’t want to return from furlough; are you dealing with this as well? 

You can’t afford to bury your head in the sand.  

I know you just want to get back to business after a rough few months, but what if your employees are too afraid of getting ill? What if they are struggling to find childcare, or suffering from stress and anxiety as a knock-on effect of the lockdown? Or what if they’ve just got into a groove working from home and don’t particularly want to return to the 9-5 and all that comes with it? 

You have to act now or you risk harming the business, which you definitely don’t need right now.  

What you do need is to win their trust and confidence, and create a working environment where they feel safe, secure, and supported.  

I hope you’ve found this podcast helpful; this is The People Mentor, signing off. See you next time!  

Struggling with building trust in your teams, book a call for some inside tips and to discuss how I can help you.

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