Trust is… everything

Business today is facing some tough challenges and uncertainties.
Yes, Brexit is one, but it is far deeper than that. New ways of thinking, as well as new ways of working are necessary to turn these challenges into opportunities. But as with all great challenges, it asks more of people and business structures, especially where trust, communication and shared vision are concerned. All too often this is the root of the challenge but can also be the source of the solution.

Today an average of 63% of employees do not trust their leaders. Boards and HR teams have lost trust in each other, (if indeed it was ever there in the first place). With talent acquisition and retention at the pinnacle of importance and often four generations of people are working together, boards have to rely on the teams recruiting and upskilling their people to be contemporary and at the leading edge of understanding and approach. Possibly exacerbating the situation is that Millennials and Gen Z do not feel inspired or loyal to companies, and this is especially true when their learning and development needs are not adequately catered for.

According to the 2019 Deloitt Global Human Capital Trends report, “Learning is the top-rated challenge among 2019’s Global Human Capital Trends”. People now rate the “opportunity to learn” as among their top reasons for taking a job.The enlightened business leaders know that changes in technology, longevity, work practices, and business models have created a tremendous demand for continuous, lifelong development. Leading organisations are taking steps to deliver learning to their people in a more personalised way. This means integrating work and learning more tightly with each other, extending ownership for learning beyond the HR team, and looking for ways to bring solutions we use in our daily lives into the learning environment at work.

“Don’t keep doing the same thing, do make small changes but make them fast and measure everything”

That all sounds rather obvious, so what’s the problem you may ask?

Well, the widely known statement “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay” is unfortunately not acted upon by everyone as cost, time and other pressures get in the way. There is also often a long-standing “tug of war” and therefore a resulting chasm between HR/L&D teams and Boards. This is one which has existed within business for many years and one at which trust and communication sit at the core.

It is fair to say that HR has taken much criticism over the last decade, but many are looking to create meaningful change in an age where new thinking is needed. They are therefore looking for more from boards and CEO’s to follow suit. This chasm can be bridged and is by the very best.


Pete Fullard, CEO of Upskill People, has had 25 years helping to bridge the gap. According to Pete, “There is a definite lack of trust between many businesses at a senior level between HR, L&D and the Board.

Often Boards feel that some L&D teams are not sufficiently effective at what they are doing and most importantly, able to measure the return. They do not trust them to effect and deliver real change which will positively impact the business because they have always done the same thing and so seen the same often uninspiring results. Similarly, many business leaders see HR as really the compliance department and a necessary which one doesn’t fully understand but knows one cannot do without. This creates a level of frustration and a chasm when it comes to “dealing with HR and L&D”

“When collaboration is achieved people start to shine, and businesses really start to excel”

“However,” Pete continues, “This chasm exists with the HR and L&D departments too. They don’t believe that they have the boards ear, are not included at ‘top table’ discussions and are constantly concerned that their budgets are to be cut. Because most are measured on merely delivering training programs, as they have always done, they continue to do so. Some believe that even if they were to put their good ideas forward to modernise and implement outcome-based programmes, boards would not trust them to do so. This is frustrating for many HR and L&D teams.

The outcomes can all too often be on giving knowledge but not necessarily converting that knowledge into skills and behavioural changes that stick. This is particularly true with management development programmes.”

So, what is the solution?

Pete reflects, “Trust has to be built slowly, if you’re going to move a mountain, start with a few pebbles. Don’t keep doing the same thing, do make small changes but make them fast and measure everything. In this way, each organisation can find the best blend that works for them. The most important things that I’ve often seen is that more can be achieved for less budget, in less time. The key to getting boards and the teams upsklling their people is for them to work in unison. When collaboration is achieved people start to shine, and businesses really start to excel.”