Another year, Edelman is offering us insights into the trust in companies, officials and their leaders with their Edelman Trust Barometer. This year’s version sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries. The study makes clear what the main trust building attributes are.
It also shows that CEOs are regaining trust (43%) since low of 31% in 2009. And there are easy ways to improve the trust scale for CEOs and their companies by communicating clearly and transparently (82%), telling the (sometimes unpopular) truth (81%) and engaging regularly with employees (80%).
The downside of the CEO results is that CEOs still rank second to last out of the most credible spokesperson framework. Those more credible were academics (67%), technical experts (66%), „person(s) like yourself“ (62%) and employees (52%).
„CEOs must continue to lead, but to do it effectively they now have to inform and empower employees and academics. So whether it’s discussing possible regulation, supply chain management or the reaction to a crisis, CEOs must work in concert with those who are viewed as being more credible.“ Alan VanderMolen, vice chairman, DJE Holdings
The report illustrates also that the trust rust in media decreased by 5% globally to 52% this year. When almost 80% of the responding countries state that the trust in media is down compared to 2013, this speaks a clear language. Although this sounds quite negative, some media sources like online search engines (65 percent), traditional media (65%), hybrid media (54%), social media (47%) and owned media (45%) see some improvement to last year.
The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is always a good indicator to how much people trust in business and government. And when we see the largest ever gap (14 points) between trust in government and business this year, the leadership teams should try to figure out quickly what the reason for it might be. Although it seems that trust in business leadership improves as it stabalized compared to 2013, it shows that businesses seem to lead government and don’t necessarily need to partner with them in order to gain trust as much as in earlier decades. Thus, it is not surprising that most respondents (84%) think business can pursue its self-interest while helping society. Furthermore, 74% even believe business could be part of the process of formulating regulation in the energy and food industries.
PS: My message to leaders…
Maybe leaders should engage with their employees more and understand what my favorite leaders quote means. „Lead by the power of your employees‘ imagination and insights, not the challenges you were given“.
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…?!