Edelman recently shared their 2022 Trust Barometer research findings.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual trust and credibility survey conducted by Edelman, a global communications firm. The study measures consumers’ trust in institutions like business, government, nonprofits not affiliated with government (NGOs) and the media. Edelman has conducted and reported the results of the survey for each of the past 20 years.
Businesses once again ranked as the most trusted institution of 2022, with 61% of the votes compared to NGOs at 59%, government at 52% and media at 50%.
With the theme of the 2022 report being “The Cycle of Distrust,” the research indicates that people’s circles of trust are becoming smaller, more familiar, more local. In fact, many distrust outsiders, with nearly 6 in 10 reporting that their tendency is to distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy. Leading with this distrust can be detrimental, especially in the workplace as we recognize the significance of and need for trust in collaborating and communicating.
With businesses continuing to take on this role as the most trusted social institution, it is imperative that workplaces recognize their obligation and accountability in maintaining an environment of trust and respond accordingly to meet employees’ needs. Trust isn’t just a nice condition to have at work, it is part of an organization’s health and productivity. And we know that organizations with high-trust environments are more successful, with 74% less stress, 40% less burnout and 76% of employees more engaged in their work.
For internal communications professionals, this research signals a strong call to action for our 2022 communication strategies and plans. A critical component of our plans this year must include prioritizing this desired outcome of building trust to strengthen employee engagement and retention. It is our role as strategic advisors within the organization to influence our leaders, explaining the essential role each of them plays in developing an environment of trust.
Internal communications alone cannot make an employee trust a leader. But it can help in fostering a culture for trust to thrive.
It is the responsibility of leaders, partnering with their communications teams and leveraging the variety of channels and tools available, to establish trust. And one simple strategy to put into practice starts with ensuring that leaders’ actions align with their words.
This practice of matching our messages (“say”) with tangible actions and tasks (“do”) builds credibility in leaders and establishes their accountability with stakeholders. It reinforces leaders who don’t just “talk the talk” but actually “walk the talk.” Simply put, leaders do what they say they will do. This say-do alignment practice also helps to ensure that messages offer employees the ever so important “what’s in it for me” context and connect employees to their role and part in the strategy.
Our words as leaders must reflect the actions we take. Trust is earned. And doing what we say, that’s one way to start earning it.
Are you interested in understanding how to foster a culture where trust can thrive through internal communications? Drop us a note at [email protected].