The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that trust in all four institutions measured – government, business, the media and NGOs – is increasing, with business in the lead. Across the 33,000 respondents in 28 countries, we saw a rise of 5 percent in trust in business this year, a larger increase than in any of the other three institutions. Those surveyed also trust business more than the other institutions to keep pace with the changing times.
Within the institution of global business, things look especially bright for the Tech sector. Of the eight industry sectors included in the Trust Barometer, Technology continues to dominate. A full 74 percent of survey respondents said that they trust Tech businesses “to do what is right.” This is 10 points above Food and Beverage, the next trusted sector, and 23 points above the laggard, Financial Services, sliding in at just 51 percent. It’s no wonder that so many companies, from auto makers to banks, shoe designers to fast-food retailers are not only are using tech to drive competitive advantage and increase their valuations, but are also declaring themselves “tech companies” to bask in that halo of innovation, efficiency and futurism.
From this vantage point, one might envision blue skies ahead for Tech companies. Digging a bit deeper, though, Edelman’s additional Technology sector specific Trust data reveals cause for concern:
There’s work to be done, clearly. One bright note, especially given the frenzied talent wars for world-class engineers and designers, is that people who work in the Tech sector respond particularly well to certain behaviors that nearly every company can emulate: they care deeply about whether their companies are doing good in the world. When Tech companies engage in societal issues, their employees advocate for them across a sweeping range of performance factors. They report that these companies have higher commitment to achieving their strategies and do the best possible job for their customers. These employees are far more likely to recommend the company as an employer (25 points), to recommend their company’s products and services (17 points), to express confidence in the future of the company (22 points), and to stay working for the company (17 points). Those numbers are hard to ignore for any company serious about winning and keeping top Tech talent: build trust with them and they will help the company build it beyond.