Did you know that 79% of employees place more trust in their coworkers than their company's superiors?

Two men at the front of a meeting room, one playfully hits the other with a notebook before both embrace in a hug.

Does this surprise you?

Trust among coworkers can create a more positive and tolerable work environment. Luckily, it's possible to begin or continue building trust with any of your coworkers!

While the level of trust you gain might vary from person to person, you'll still be able to strengthen bonds within your team.

Why is Trust Important in the Workplace?

Building trust among coworkers can result in:

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  • Stronger teamscoworkers who trust each other are more likely to communicate openly and exchange ideas.

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  • A positive work environmentcoworkers may feel more loyalty and motivation in the workplace, which can lead to a healthier workspace.

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  • Positive work culturecoworkers may gain the ability to rely on each other, take risks, and open up without the fear of rejection or judgment.

These are a few of the many benefits that come with having trust among coworkers.

Things to Consider About Building Trust

Lady asking

Building trust with coworkers can be tricky. When it comes to workplace relationships the old saying is true for many: "Your coworkers are not your friends."

Everyone's comfort level with building trust in the workplace will vary. When building trust with coworkers, remember:

  • Coworkers may be selective about whom they share personal information with.

    Tip: Keep shared information private unless you're told that it's okay to share with others.

  • Many workplaces have a code of conduct that everyone must follow.

    Tip: Be mindful of these rules and use discretion to avoid violations.

  • Some coworkers only want a "Hi" and "Bye" type of relationship in the workplace.

    Tip: While this may change with time, always respect set boundaries.

You can still build trust with your coworkers without a deep personal connection! The 3 strategies below will help you establish that trust with anyone in your organization.

1. Build Rapport and Communicate Frequently

Get to know your coworkers by communicating with small talk in a meaningful way.

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  • Start all interactions with a greeting and try to use preferred names.

    For example: "Good morning Xiomora", "Hello Keenan!", "Thank you, Kelsi."

  • Acknowledge significant dates mentioned by asking about their plans or how things went afterward.

    For example: Birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, educational completions

  • Congratulate announced accomplishments in group or one-on-one settings

    Tip: Be considerate of their comfort level with attention when giving shout-outs in group settings.

2. Be Honest and Transparent

Start all interactions with your coworkers with honesty.

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  • Try to be truthful, even when it might seem awkward.

    Why? Getting caught in a lie is a quick way to lose anyone's trust.

  • Avoid keeping secrets or withholding information that may have a big effect on others.

    Why? If it's not confidential, consider sharing the information when needed or asked.


Your coworker told you she's pregnant but hasn't announced it yet. She's a huge part of your team project. Should you tell the other team members?

3. Be Helpful and Reliable

Offer help when you can and stick to your word when making commitments.

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How to be reliable:

  • Avoid making promises and commitments that you can't deliver.

  • Communicate when you are unable to provide help that you previously committed to.

How to be helpful:

  • Offer assistance or help to others in need of support when you are comfortably able to.

  • If you can't help, be honest with the person requesting assistance (if it was a direct request).

Time to Practice!

Kara has recently started working on a team with a new company. Ricardo, a team member and coworker, has been asked to orient Kara to the team and their technological tools during the first few days.

A man and woman standing at a standing desk. The woman watches as the man works on the laptop. Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash

On the final day of Kara's orientation with Ricardo, she admits that she has been struggling with learning some of the technology tools on her own.


How can Ricardo build trust with Kara in this scenario?

Take Action

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Explore the following resources to boost your understanding of trust in the workplace!


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