Lots of HR professionals want to know how to deliver value and build trust in organizations.

(Like there’s a ten-step plan for being a better human being, too. Whatever.)

People are always looking to experts when the answers reside within themselves. Drives me crazy. In as much as a blog post or a conference can inspire you to live better, well, that’s great. But let’s not pretend that there’s a shortcut to delivering value and building trust.

You have to answer questions that are rarely asked.

1. How do you define value?
2. Is it the same way I define value?
3. Is your definition ethical or appropriate?
4. Does it matter if you feel like I’m delivering value?
5. Are you important, or should I aim higher in the organization?

I also want to know:

1. Is building trust a realistic goal?
2. Is trust a valid indicator of healthy and productive teams?
3. What if we all trust one another, but we don’t get any work done?
4. What if the barrier to trust is too high?
5. What happens when we trust, but you still disappoint me?

I think the word “value” is subjective. Value is what is appreciated by the powerful. I also believe trust can be unhealthy. Look at the Catholic church. Lots of trust and dysfunction, am I right?

It’s great to work in HR and make a difference. But you know how to do this without referring to the latest article in some stupid business magazine that exists to sell advertising.

Want to add value and build trust? Start with the basics. Be present, be a subject matter expert, and be confident in your abilities.

Deliver value on your terms and build trust slowly. Be sure to remember that it’s not only your job to deliver value and build trust. People should be doing the same with you, too.


  1. I think the delivering value point is a really good one. I assume it’s going to be different for each organisation although there will no doubt be common ‘HR’ themes that run across them all. Ultimately it has to be about compliance and people. It’s the people part that is very open to definition.

  2. Value is variable. it depends on what the organization expects from HR. But trust is universal, HR should strive to build that trust both from top management and employees by being transparent and consistent, and subject matter expert

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