Nearly 1 in 3 employees is more likely to believe each other about company news than the company itself, a recent Edelman study found. The data suggests leaders may need a refresher on the importance of having their employees’ trust.
The global PR company reported in its “2016 Trust Barometer Special Report on Employee Advocacy” that this distrust is problematic because consumers trust employees’ opinion of their company. If employees don’t trust their company, then they won’t advocate for it, and consumers will think twice about whether to buy into what that business is selling.
When it comes to employee and consumer trust in a company, the two groups care about some of the same things, the report said — that the company treats its employees well, that it has ethical business practices, and that the CEO is meaningfully engaged in societal issues.
Edelman offered five ways leaders can close the trust gap:
- Be open and transparent with employees.
- Exhibit highly ethical behavior.
- Engage in societal issues.
- Take action when needed.
- Share personal values and history.
Despite the discouraging data, there’s an upside, said Christopher Hannegan, executive vice president and lead of Edelman’s employee engagement business in the United States said in a statement. “If you build trust with your employees, they’ll say good things about you. And when they do, consumers will believe them. Don’t let the opportunity to close your employee trust divide slip by.”
Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.