Trust and Berkshire Hathaway: Gullible or Brilliant?

Berkshire Hathaway doesn't have an HR department! How can it possibly function?! Honestly, we don't know. We're not here to speculate on what this mega corporation runs without, but rather what it seems to run on and abundantly: trust. What does this have to do with you, who doesn’t have the helm of a company raking in over 150 billion dollars a year? Maybe, just maybe, it’s the fear of getting burned by trusting the wrong people that’s kneecapping both our hiring and engagement strategies.

Trust and the Hiring Process

We each have our own method, our individual mix of desired characteristics, but how often, as we see in the case of Berkshire Hathaway, do we consciously weigh how much we feel we can trust a candidate? If we do not lay this at the foundation of our hiring process, where does that lead our organizations moving forward? We are hiring people whom we cannot necessarily trust, or at least, people we are not certain we trust. Seems dangerous, doesn’t it?

Trust Engages Employees

While it seems irresponsible to just go around trusting people, the Berkshire Hathaway example suggests that employees not only produce, but engage in the workplace. Studies suggest that the power of trust is rather strong, and honestly, say that you’d rather not be trusted. It’s at least worth the argument that employees, we, will be more loyal and steadfast and productive when we feel trusted. And that trust encourages us to interact and engage more openly. Is trust the silver bullet to retaining that top talent? The curious case of Berkshire Hathaway certainly suggests it might be.

Could it be that the only flaw in our hiring and retaining strategies is our own unwillingness to be burnt by trusting the wrong candidates and employees? Could it be that we don’t need a better strategy to snag that top talent, but a better way to frame our strategy? Likewise, maybe we don’t need a better strategy to retain top talent, but a better way to view that strategy? What do you think? Is Berkshire Hathaway crazy? Are we? Or could trust really be a novel idea once again?

Source: New York Times