Why organisations should embrace the Edelman Trust Barometer results.

Trust is a fundamental value which we commonly experience across various types of relationships. According to the American Psychological Association, trust refers to the confidence a person has in the reliability of others. It is hailed as the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Its presence does not only foster interpersonal connections but also promotes a sense of security and positivity.  

Unsurprisingly, the impact of having trust within organisations also applies. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer demonstrated that people working at high-trust companies are significantly (76%) more engaged and 50% more productive with their work. They also reported a lower level of occupational stress and burnout compared to their counterparts working under a low-trust culture.   

Straightforward as it may seem, people are struggling to build trust towards societal institutions. Accompanied with the pandemic outbreak are the economic and societal fear towards worldwide issues like global inflation, job loss, climate change, and potential threats of nuclear war that have fuelled people’s distrust in the government, non-profit organisations, and media.  

In accordance with the Edelman Trust Barometer 2023 report, people are looking upon organisations to be the leading voice on ethics and trust over government institutions. High expectations are now placed on senior business leaders to alleviate the pressing challenges including economic inequality, discrimination, and workforce reskilling.  

The key question now boils down to how can organisations promote a high-trust culture? Here are our quick-win tips by which individuals, teams and organisations can build trust with their people: 

Individuals shoulder the responsibility to build trust with others – People should take the initiative to share their self-reflections with team members to develop a trusted relationship through a sense of authenticity and openness. Building empathy through embracing individual differences and collaborating around a shared vision minimises the psychological distance and biases towards others. Lastly, continuous communication can effectively promote a shared identity and collective competency among people.  

Managers play a pivotal role in creating a trusting team culture – Managers can advocate and set aside time for team members to communicate intentionally to reproduce serendipity. This fosters empathy within the team through meaningful conversations and friendship in the workplace. Managers can also consider establishing trust and integrity as a core organisational principle to encourage people to show authenticity in the team. 

Leaders’ behaviours are key to a high-trust organisation – While facing conflicts, leaders can role model by disagreeing on others’ point of view with respect and active listening. When someone makes a mistake, leaders can be curious but not dismissive by asking guiding questions to understand others’ thought processes. Conversely, leaders can acknowledge mistakes positively, reflecting on and sharing how these have been helpful for the personal growth of their people.  

For a more in-depth understanding of how middle managers build trust under hybrid working, read this article from HSM Advisory titled “Navigating Tensions Around Trust”. 

You can find the full The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer report here