Trust plays an integral part in many of our programmes. It’s a critical foundation of high performing teams and organisations. Interpersonal trust is the glue that binds teams together. Yet not many organisations are truly aware of the benefits of building trust in the employee-employer relationship.
It’s even harder to build trust once it is perceived as broken, so we delved deep into the results of the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, which were published just ahead of last week’s World Economic Forum. The 2020 Barometer surveyed over 34,000 people in 28 countries, asking questions about their trust in institutions.
We’ve highlighted three of the key themes to explore:
Building Trust and Purpose
One of the significant headlines of the Trust Barometer’s findings was that 76% of people trust “my employer” more than any other institution.
When it came to business, the institution was viewed as more competent than government or media but was not viewed as being ethical. After tracking 40 global companies over the past year, Edelman found that ethical drivers such as integrity, dependability and purpose are responsible for 76% of the trust capital of business, while competence accounts for only 24%.
Customers buying habits are continuing to be motivated by belief and they expect brands to act as a force for change and societal problems.
Trust is inextricably linked to doing what is right. More than ever, people want their values and principles reflected at the organisations they work for and the businesses they see around them. Trust drives behaviours that help organisations to grow, through transparent communication, employee empowerment and the capability to learn through risk and decision-making. Where trust is present, in purpose-driven workplaces, people and culture become a powerful force and have significant competitive advantage.
The Future of Work
It’s no wonder that people become resistant and fearful of the future when we use terms like ‘disruption’, a word that is synonymous with disorder, interference and trouble. The Trust Barometer found there is great worry from employees about the future of work. Specifically, 83% say they fear losing their job, whether that’s because of a lack of skills, a recession, automation, cheaper foreign competitors, the gig economy, immigrants, or jobs being moved to other countries. Furthermore, more than 60% of people surveyed worried that the pace of change was ‘too fast’. That causes all sorts of stress responses, coping issues, with deeper impacts upon the levels of resilience and optimism.
We know the velocity of change and disruption in businesses across the globe will continue at pace. As such, there is an opportunity to teach people resilience, adaptability and develop the personal skills that will allow them to feel comfortable in today’s fast-moving working environments, rather than be afraid of them.
Organisations that are able to create cultures of curiosity and continuous, multi-faceted learning will thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For leaders, it’s crucial that they closely coach their teams through the changes that are part of the digital transformation of the workplace. People understand the facts behind the changes, they know that technology is developing and the world is changing. What they need is the personal, emotional support and skills development to enable them to exist is this new reality.
Long term success relies on Stakeholders
87% of those asked believed stakeholders (employees, customers and communities rather than shareholders) were most important to long-term company success.
As we shift, we need a multi-generational, diverse involvement into how to provide the environment that supports growth and psychological safety; one which embraces all stakeholders and builds connected communities of employees in order to collaborate and deliver.
Some may think that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about technology. In fact, it puts humans firmly at its centre. The fact that problem-solving, collaboration and innovative capacity are the fundamental building blocks of survival, not just success, means that the human component has never been more important. Our essential humanness, never more valuable as we face into the future of work.