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MAY 2018



by Cydney Roach, Executive Vice President, National Practice Lead - Employee Experience


In recent years, global findings from the Trust Barometer showed most of the world moving in lockstep,
driven by populist perspectives that resulted in a global inversion of authority as evidenced by Brexit and
U.S. election results. This year, the world is more polarized, with the U.S. on one end of the spectrum
experiencing an astounding drop in trust – particularly in government – while China, on the other end of
the spectrum, has experienced a significant increase in trust.

A precipitous drop in trust in the U.S. government and media has given
rise to increased credibility – and expectations – of business and the
CEO. In other words, the battle for truth – for solid, grounded
information that is perceived as lacking in U.S. media and government
say that CEOs
– has shifted the focus on business to lead. By a margin of 15
should take the lead on
percentage points, our research revealed that business is more trusted
change rather than
than government in the U.S. Further, 79% of U.S. respondents say they
waiting for government
trust their employer to do what is right. This, in a distrustful world, is an
to impose it
unexpected and powerful advantage for employers.
Organizations must ask themselves how they can not only maintain but further build that trust. That means
meeting the changing expectations of both internal and external audiences, as well as partnering and
connecting with them in different ways. According to 2018 findings, social media platforms for CEOs have
the power to enhance the employer advantage since over half of respondents now expect CEOs to use
social media to communicate directly to the public and a company’s social media is seen as over 25%
more believable than its advertising.

A company’s social
media is over 25% more
63% Company’s
social media

believable than its

advertising 37% Company’s

© 2018 Edelman
1. Inform, then advocate. The increase of trust in 4. Re-assess your mission, vision and values.
business comes with the new expectation that Since there is a new mandate to make your
CEO’s must speak up on issues in the public eye. business socially relevant, refreshing the
mission/vision/values that sit alongside your
Now more than ever, they are not only expected
organizational purpose will help you consider how
to advocate their position on issues, they are also you must show up as an involved corporate citizen,
expected to inform and educate, presenting all (internally and externally); help you advocate for
sides of an issue before taking a stand. Silence issues that matter to your stakeholders; and allow
on public issues will no longer work for you to build forward-looking internal policies for
employees. In fact, silence is a tax on the truth. employees.

2. Articulate and activate your organizational 5. Ensure you have the tools and methods to reach
audiences in ways that matter to them. The
purpose. Because trust is now a top global
workplace and the trust environment are more
priority, explicitly defining your purpose and nuanced than ever before. Are you able to
what you stand for as an employer will enable segment stakeholders to get the right message to
you to build trust by infusing your purpose into a the right person at the right time? Move beyond
strong employer brand, employee value traditional demographic mapping and understand
proposition and a purpose-driven culture. These employee preferences and interests based on their
are no longer nice to have items – they are personas / psychographic profiles. Select the right
communication channels and preferences most
critical competitive differentiators for a company
likely to capture the attention and trust of your
and play an equally critical role in achieving stakeholders – what works best for a corporate
long term strategy goals. executive may not instill trust in a factory floor
Building Trust Is Job #1 for CEOs 6. Take advantage of the new hyper-connectivity
People believe the most important to create stronger trust and connections within
responsibilities for CEOs are: your organization and beyond.
• Look at how your C-suite and functional leaders
1. Their company is trusted work together – create opportunities for them
69% to collaborate on projects that contribute to the
employee experience while driving better
business outcomes.
2. Their products and services • Assess how colleagues are connecting today
are high quality and identify if there are new or better
68% platforms to drive peer-to-peer or peer-to-
leader connections and collaboration. For
3. Business decisions example, we have seen a sudden surge of
reflect company values interest from clients who want to engage
employees in bottom up strategy planning and
64% are seeking new ways to do that via
technology platforms as well as in-person
4. Profits and stock price increase collaboration that breaks down traditional silos.
• Nurture the flow of information from the inside-
out through ambassador programs and outside-
in through a newsroom strategy.

© 2018 Edelman
The Case for Hyper Connectivity
Media influences Trust is earned within Employee advocates
employee perceptions the organization influence perceptions of
external stakeholders

55% 72% 71%

of employees believe trust their employer say employees are more
news outlets more than believable spokespeople
their CEO for information about a company
about their company than CEOs

To learn more about how the 2018 Trust Barometer

findings can provide you with the insights you need to EDELMAN EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
shape your work, click on the image below.
We accelerate transformational change by
designing employee experiences that shift
mindsets. We marry the art of storytelling
with the science of digital activation,
behavioral science and continuous listening
metrics to drive results.

For more information, visit us at:
To discuss the Edelman Trust Barometer and
what the findings mean for you, your Follow us on Twitter:
organization and your industry, contact: @EdelmanEE
Email us at:

© 2018 Edelman

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