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Without trust, what is left?


Tuesday 06 August 2019

There has been much debate in recent days about whether mandatory CCTV in all early learning and care services is needed. For me, both as a parent and as a HR Practitioner, this begs the question; where is the trust gone? Is this the legacy we want to leave our children with, that at all times educators need to be watched because they can’t be trusted to do their jobs? Is this what we want to normalise?

The fundamental basis of the employment relationship, like any relationship, is the implied term of trust and confidence. The employer will trust the employee to do their job, and has confidence in their skill and ability. The employee trusts the employer acknowledges them for the work that they do, and has confidence that they will support them. Where we create an environment of trust for employees, they will feel the following:

  • I trust I can make a mistake and be supported to learn from it
  • I trust I can speak up and be heard
  • I trust my colleagues and support them
  • I trust my manager to have my back

"When we trust our employees, they’re more likely to behave responsibly and be productive, creative and forward thinking. What would you change if your starting point was trust instead of control?"

Lucy Adams, HR Disrupted, Its time for something different, 2017

Trust underpins everything. This is where we need to shift the focus to. Mutual trust between the managers and staff of an ELC setting. Where trust exists, people feel more comfortable in influencing each other in a positive way. This comes from the top, and people will follow the example set and be inspired by it. If we inspire people to feel safe in speaking up and challenging the ways things are done, then things can only improve. If we trust our staff to call out poor practice and expect more from each other, they will do this, because they will feel it is safe to do so. Lack of trust only creates fear, and where fear exists people will not take responsibility, they will not go the extra mile and they will not ultimately be the best they can be.

Trust is catching! Where someone feels trusted, they will exhibit and mimic the behaviours of those who gave them that trust and in turn will be trusted.  The parents and children using an ELC setting, for example, will feel it in the air, see it in behaviours, sense it through interactions.  It is like a language in and of itself and everyone around will speak it to each other. And this is how people will start to feel secure.

So, where CCTV is not the answer, maybe we are asking the wrong question and Lucy Adam's question is the one worth considering: 

"What would you change if the starting point was trust instead of control?"



Gillian Moore is the Manager of Early Childhood Ireland’s newly launched Early Years Employer Service. With over 10 years’ experience working in HR and a prior legal background, Gillian’s focus will be on supporting Early Childhood Ireland's members as they navigate the complexities of running a service and helping them have confidence in their HR and business practices.


2 comments Comments

2 Responses

  1. Danielle Ryan says:

    Empowerment of employees is great but I am not against CCTV and I believe any service should be open and welcome transparency. CCTV can give insight to managers who can like you said create a positive productive atmosphere to work and care for children. Critically CCTV is an extra protection for children which is what families are trusting childcare workers to do and unfortunately it would appear that not all childcare services are adhering to quality practice or deserving of trust.

  2. Gillian Moore says:

    My fear is that mandatory CCTV will inhibit rather than encourage a positive productive atmosphere. Whilst I can’t argue with extra protection for children I’m not convinced that mandatory CCTV will achieve this. If we came from place of trust and transparency then staff should feel safe calling out poor practice/behaviours and know they’ll be listened to.

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