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Employment is a relationship, and just like any relationship trust is important in employment. Understanding the global trust level that the employer has with its employee’s can provide some interesting, if startling revelations about your workplace. One of the quickest ways to measure trust in an organization is how much money can you spend before you need someone's permission to spend it (factoring in your position etc)?

Here’s an example, I was working with a large organization and was asked to assist in writing a memo to the executive regarding an expenditure, the cost was around $900 for a morning and afternoon tea for a large group of people – the actual cost per head was very very low. The organization had a policy that any food-related expenditure beyond a specific amount had to receive executive approval. So the memo was written, which went to the area’s manager, then up to the General Manager of HR, then up to the Executive. I’m a time analysis kind of person, indeed return on investment was the topic of my thesis, anyway I estimated that that memo probably cost around $500 (and this was a conservative estimate without taking into account lost productivity/opportunity costs) by the time it went through the different layers of management and back again.

So trust didn’t feature greatly in this organisations culture – indeed they preferred to take on additional cost rather than trust employees, and this brought about other issues with its workforce. Just like a marriage, trust is important within an employment relationship, without it your HR department is going to be very busy dealing with issues that arise from a trust-less ‘marriage’, not the least of which is going to be increased turnover.

Keen to hear your views of trust with organisations you’ve been involved with.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.