It is the little things done consistently that make the difference. Consistency is where the power is. For 10 years now, trust has moved from a top-down phenomenon to a horizontal, peer to peer. Trust has become local. And it’s partly a response to fake news but also partly to something I (meaning an individual) can control. “I feel like I can control my relationship with my employer”. Globally, 75% of people believe that the employer is the most trusted institution.
In developing markets however, corruption spikes have caused a diminution of trust in the elites. This has led to a desperate search for control and taking back power to oneself. The Edelman Trust Barometer states that “this is manifested by a stunning rise in engagement with media in the past year, which went from 50% to about 70% in one year. The number of people who aren’t just reading news posts, but amplifying has doubled. 45% of people now see a story then share it.” They are deeply involved in the process of news and discussion. However, a lot of us don’t feel that that’s enough. Taking control back onto oneself is still primary.
Within corporates and SMEs like us, employees now believe that they can influence what happens at their respective institutions. That’s why “my employer” becomes high in the ‘most trusted institution’.
The implications for these are that employees now expect CEOs to go out and take action, and not wait for government. Employees also expect their employers to address issues related to being “my employer” too. Specifically pay, diversity and re-training. On top of that, employees expect that a company will not simply pay them, but it will also empower them with information, so that they are able to contribute to the discussion and the company will also have a social aspiration.
So, an employee, in response to positive stimuli, will advocate for the employer, they will be loyal to them, and also engage broadly in the community. Therefore, the basic hypothesis is trust at work. Trust has now been put into the locality. It’s something employees want to see in the eyes of the CEO or the leader, understand and feel a part of and confident in.
How Can We Build, Rebuild or Maintain Trust?
As a company owner and/or leader, it’s very important to have a big idea for the company. It’s very important to have a mission or a purpose. Something that people can really feel strongly about and live to deliver.
Secondly, informing employees first, not last and making them the primary objective. Not the customers, shareholders or communities. Employees are the first order of business. And if they are informed, they will speak on behalf of the company.
As a multinational, it’s critical to focus on our home market first. We must make a commitment. We must make our community work. That means, education, health — becoming a Social entrepreneur.
Finally, as CEOs we need to stand up, to speak up and speak out. At a time when 75% of people say that they believe that businesses can make money and improve society, this is the new mandate for businesses. It is time for business leaders to step into the void. As a society we have an absence of leadership. We need to go back to the micro of the firm and persuade people by our actions that in fact, trust can be restored.
David Horsager states that, “the only way to rebuild trust is to make and keep a commitment.”
At Sahihi Interior Builders, Quality, Time and Cost is our promise to every client. In every new project we take, our client is assured of these three. Our secret to maintaining the trust that we have already created is to keep our promise from the beginning to the end of a project.