Since Edelman released the findings of the Edelman Trust Barometer, much has been written and discussed about the “crisis of leadership” being felt across multiple industries and countries, the result of declining trust. So far, the focus has been primarily on the expectations of consumers and external stakeholders. Unfortunately, things don’t look any better from the inside.
This year, Edelman included questions in the survey to discover what gaps might exist in the U.S. between what employees want to know more about and what their company leadership has shared with them. Of particular note was the revelation that almost 30 percent of employed respondents in the U.S. said their company leaders had not shared with them the direction in which the company is headed. Is it any wonder we’re regularly seeing survey results that tell us up to half of today’s employees say they are either actively looking for a new job or expect to make a move in the next 12-18 months?
Building – and keeping – the trust of employees is critical to a company’s long-term success, especially in a world where employees (almost 70 percent, according to our research) share their opinions and experiences at work with friends and family through multiple channels. There’s simply no such thing as “keeping it in the family” anymore. Once employees share with their networks, your company’s reputation is at risk. Your ability to keep – and recruit – top talent is directly impacted by the picture being painted by employees.
The Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that two of the most important attributes to building trust are treating employees well and communicating frequently and honestly about the state of business.
I don’t believe most leaders intentionally fail to share important information with employees; rather, they often just assume employees already know the company’s mission, vision and values. Perhaps they think it’s obvious to employees how they contribute to the company’s performance. So, maybe it’s time to consider this: what do you have to lose by repeating your most important messages to your most important stakeholders?
Claudia Patton is chief talent officer.
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