Onboarding Your Staff Builds Trust

Trust is the foundation of any successful team. It enables people to collaborate, innovate and achieve greater results than each alone. When trust is built into your ministry’s workplace culture, it can increase employee engagement and retention, as well as enhance your reputation.

During our podcast interview with former Navy SEAL, Matt Cumbee, we asked him to give us his take on the value of trust on a team. We’ve transcribed Matt’s responses, below.

Matt told us, “the nature of the [SEAL] training pipeline and the rigor of it, creates what I say, you know, it’s a 60% consistency-of-the-product.”  

“So no matter who you meet, or who you get assigned to whatever team you…your history is the same at least in the context of training…so you’ve already been vetted through this process, so the trust element is wrapped into that because of the common background.”

Matt continued to describe how critical trust is to a SEAL team because the stakes are so high.

One step you can take to build a culture of trust in your ministry team is through the process of onboarding. Your process doesn’t have to be as rigorous as a SEAL team’s training, but your goal should be the same—to cultivate trust. 

Onboarding is a critical first step in building a personal relationship with a new employee—it helps them build trust with you and vice versa. A good onboarding experience helps new hires acclimate to their new work environment, integrate into the ministry’s culture, and become trustworthy contributors. It also demonstrates you are serious about building a strong trustworthy culture.

Paul understood how important the “onboarding” process was. He entrusted the Gospel to Timothy and charged Timothy to do the same with other trustworthy people. In 2 Timothy 1, Paul talks about Timothy’s “sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

Now, look at what Paul charges Timothy to do with what was passed on to him. “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” 

If you still aren’t sure where to start, here are a few components we recommend you build into an onboarding program.

  1. Educate employees about the organizational history and its importance to the work.
  2. Invite employees to embrace the organization’s history and make it their own.
  3. Charge employees to guard the patterns of the organization that have made it successful and sustainable.

With trust, employees give their all. They go the extra mile, take risks and innovate.

Why? Because they feel empowered, safe, and important. 

Invest in a culture of trust, and your team will thank you for it.


Strong teams are built by strong leaders. Find out how Ministry Insights’ tools can help you build a team that communicates with empathy, trusts each other, and executes like never before. Start by taking your Leading From Your Strengths® assessment today!