Edelman Trust Barometer 2013: Facing a leadership issue.
Year after year, Edelman is publishing their Edelman Trust Barometer. The 2013 version just came out and it is offering some helpful findings, pictures and illustrations how C-level managers, employees and brands can build trust. Edelman polled 31,000 people in 26 countries and as they have the comparison of the last three year (2011-2013), it is interesting to see the changes in the “Edelman Trust Index”. From a global perspective, the positive signs are that the global trust index goes back to normal after some bad development in 2012.
Definitely, one of the main messages the report gives, is that the general public and better “educated citizens” don’t really trust government officials (13%) and business CEOs (18%) to tell the truth. Business CEOs ended up second to last with 43% only. So, it is not only the marketers that lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs internally – externally the CEOs seem to be the people – employees, customers and partners – just the human brand economy CEOs need to become successful with their business. The most trustworthy people seem to be academics and experts, followed by technical experts.
The study offers an interesting list of 16-trust building attributes (named “trust performance clusters”) every organization should pay attention to, and live and breath. All points make sense and every single one seems worth-while being considered and double-checked with your own organization.
Leadership seems to face a crisis at the moment. The study makes clear that people distrust their company leaders, or don’t seem to get what they want from their bosses. Globally, the employees expectations in the areas business performance, integrity, products, purpose, and services always score low numbers and don’t hit public’s expectations. Especially under engagement, when it comes to how leaders are taking care and treating their employees, the leaders fall short in their ratings: just 24% feel that businesses do what ever they can to meet the employees’ demands.
“We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership. Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive… They must also pass the test of radical transparency.” Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman
From an industry sector’s point of view technology wins in building trust (77%). Banks and financial services (50%) as well as media (53%%) rank lowest in trust scores. Edelman thinks that transparency in their business processes might help. Also, the way these economies are explaining their businesses could improve trust building as shareholders want to know how these companies operate and make money. Social Media could play an important role.
As long as people don’t understand how organizations operate, what companies and brands do with the money they invest in their products and services, they will doubt that they really get best value and service for their money. Even more, when companies don’t take their responsibility to open communication serious which most companies do when they don’t respond internal and external comments through social platforms. The more companies become social businesses and open up their communication, the more they create an atmosphere of transparency and collaboration, the more customers will engage with their community centers, the more people trust that companies really do whatever they can – WITH the help of employees, partners and customers.
“This confirms the democratizing trend of recent years with influence and authority moving away from CEOs and government leaders to experts and peers,” finds Edelman. And we agree with them.
Watch their video summary and then start checking on your own trust building tactics. And let us know if you experience the leadership issue in some way as well, or not…?!