5 communications topics most effective in increasing employer trust

Trust in the employer is now growing in markets globally. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2019, the top five communications topics that are most effective in increasing employer trust are:

  • Societal impact
  • Values
  • The future
  • Purpose
  • Operations

"My employer" has emerged as the most trusted institution globally (75%) as compared to NGOs (57%), businesses (56%), the government (48%) and the media (47%).  About 58% of employees surveyed look to their employers and CEOs to be a trustworthy source of information about social issues and other important topics on which there is not general agreement.

More specifically, trust towards employers in Malaysia rose by three points to 76%, while Hong Kong witnessed a six point increase to 74%. Meanwhile, trust in "my employer" in Singapore and Indonesia remained at 74% and 89% respectively.

About 77% of employees in Malaysia believe that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the communities where it operates. Meanwhile, 76% of Singaporean employees and 75% of Indonesian employees feel the same way. On the other hand, only 62% of employees in Hong Kong believe companies can improve society and do well at the same time.

CEOs are expected to lead the fight for change, with 76% of employees indicating they want their CEOs to take the lead instead of waiting for the government to impose it. Areas that employees believe CEOs can creative positive change in include equal pay (65%), prejudice and discrimination (64%), training for the jobs of tomorrow (64%) and the environment (56%).

Employees also expect prospective employers to actively join them in advocating for social issues (67%). Companies that do are rewarded with greater commitment (83%), advocacy (78%) and loyalty (74%) from their employees.

According to president and CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman, the last decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions. "More recently, people have lost confidence in the social platforms that fostered peer-to-peer trust. These forces have led people to shift their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers," he said.

He added that this is the emergence of the "new contract" between employee and employer which Edelman terms "Trust at Work". The contract is predicated on companies taking four specific actions - lead on change, empower employees, start locally and CEO leadership.

Edelman advises CEOs to establish an audacious goal that attracts socially-minded employees and make it a core business objective, as well as make a positive impact in the communities in which they operate. CEOs are also advised to keep employees directly informed on daily issues and give them a voice, as well as speak up directly on issues of the day.

"Smart companies will heed the call to build trust from the inside out with employees as the focal point," Edelman said.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed about 33,000 respondents in 27 markets between 19 October and 16 November 2018.