Investing in Employee Trust is Investing in Your Bottom Line
By Lise Michaud
If anyone still questions the value of strategic internal communication in organizations, findings from the latest Edelman Trust Barometer provide some clear evidence on why the discipline should play a key role in the broader communication mix to bring business value.
Here are some of the key findings from the annual research:
75% of respondents say they trust “my employer” to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent) and media (47 percent).
Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.
Employees are ready and willing to trust their employers, but the trust must be earned through more than “business as usual.” Employees’ expectation that prospective employers will join them in taking action on societal issues (67 percent) is nearly as high as their expectations of personal empowerment (74 percent) and job opportunity (80 percent).
The rewards of meeting these expectations and building trust are great. Employees who have trust in their employer are far more likely to engage in beneficial actions on their behalf—they will advocate for the organization (a 39-point trust advantage), are more engaged (33 points), and remain far more loyal (38 points) and committed (31 points) than their more skeptical counterparts.
Investing in employee trust is investing in your bottom line. "78 percent believe that how a company treats its employees is one of the best indicators of its level of trustworthiness while 67 percent say that "a good reputation may get me to try a new product, but unless I get to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it."
In addition, 71 percent of employees believe it’s critically important for “my CEO” to respond to challenging times. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the general population concur—they say they want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it.
Employee respondents expect their employers to be their partners in change. Employees’ expectation that prospective employers will join them in taking action on societal issues (67 percent) is nearly as high as their expectations of personal empowerment (74 percent) and job opportunity (80 percent). Nearly six in 10 look to their employer as a trustworthy source of information on contentious social problems and on important topics like the economy (72 percent) and technology (58 percent).
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A Global Perspective
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Richard Edelman, president and CEO at Edelman writes: "This significant shift in employee expectations opens up an enormous opportunity for employers to help rebuild societal trust, as the general population sees business as being able to make money and improve society (73 percent). The result is a new employee-employer contract— Trust at Work—predicated on taking these actions.
Trust at Work is a fundamental rebalancing of the employee-employer relationship, shifting from top-down control to one that emphasizes employee empowerment. In a full employment economy, an employee has more freedom to choose the kind of workplace they are now coming to expect, one where values and the power to make change are a given.
This is the path that business must follow to help restore trust, the greatest moral challenge of our era. The critical work of building a better future for all begins in the workplace."
Link to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer.
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