The findings of the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer explore for the 14th year running the importance of trust in business:
“We believe that trust is an asset that enterprises must understand and properly manage in order to be successful in today’s complex operating environment. Unlike reputation, which is based on an aggregate of past experiences with a company or brand, trust is a forward facing metric of stakeholder expectation.”
As well as the result of the research, the report reveals 16 key attributes to building trust.
I decided to take a closer look at this section and identify specifically what role internal communicators can play in 2014 to contribute to the building of trust in the organisation in which they work.
I’ve done this because, while the report looks mainly at external perceptions of organisations, I believe that you can only build trust with customers and the general public if first you build a culture of trust with your employees.
I’ve highlighted on the Edelman Slideshare slide 32 (below ) what I think are the key areas we can influence in our roles and listed some important questions (in orange) to ask yourself in relation to these.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW FULL SIZE:
*For tips on how to internal comms can build an innovative culture, visit this useful post by Zyncro here.
While internal communicators have a role to play in influencing all of the 16 key attributes outlined above, I think those highlighted are most closely tied to our purpose.
What’s interesting is that leadership /CEO is listed one of the key four factors which influence trust in a business in this report. This means, it’s more important than ever to get the support for our leaders right and help them to communicate effectively. It’s time to have conversations with leaders about these findings. Encourage authenticity from leaders and openness, transparency and honesty in all communications.
Finally, internal communications needs to work in partnership with external communications on each of these attributes. There can be no disconnect between what is communicated externally and what is communicated internally. But I believe internal communications plays the crucial first role in building trust. Because we have to get the internal culture right first; building trust with customers and the general public is only possible if first you build a culture of trust with your employees.
What do you think? What role can internal communications play in building trust in business?