When I work with clients and meet with industry experts to discuss employee engagement strategies, my first question is, “Who do your employees trust?” With trust in business at an all-time low, the answer to this question is telling. Engagement begins with trust. That’s why leaders and communicators need to take action to build and reinforce trust in an era in which distrust is trending.
Reading the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, I took away three important truths:
As communicators, we are challenged with creating new messaging around innovation, strategic business processes and organizational goals that speaks to employees. We need to do this against a backdrop of an epidemic of cynicism. Yet, to create authentic, effective communications in service of the organization, we must show the value of balancing leader-led messages with peer-to-peer channels.
The sweet spot lies in the intersection of integrity and engagement. Enlisting a cross-functional team of employees to serve as ambassadors for grassroots communications about your products, services and business practices can be crucial to building trust in your organization.
It is only by understanding what people think and how they feel about trust that we can begin to find ways to engage them.