Trust is still an issue, according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. This year’s report found the largest ever trust gap (12 points) between the informed public and the mass population. In fact, the trust disparity has widened to double-digit levels in more than half of the countries surveyed with the United States’ 20-point gap topping the list. The report attributes the growing trust gap to income inequality and conflicting expectations of the future.
There was some good news. The public responded positively to CEOs who try to realize the dual mandate of profit and societal benefits. But, according to the survey, their trust levels are contingent on the help of their employees, who are viewed as more trusted to deliver information regarding the treatment of employees as well as information on business practices and crises.
For business leaders, the message is clear. In order to close the gap between mistrust and trust, you need to engage “regular” employees – who are most likely to be viewed as “a person like yourself” – to deliver your organization’s messages. Now, more than ever before, employee ambassadors are the key to your success.
Ambassadors can help carry your organization’s business, philanthropic or corporate social responsibility messages, and make certain that they are received by your target audiences. To be effective, ambassadors need to be armed with the proper tools (including consistent messaging) and the knowledge to be able to adapt these messages to make them their own. In addition, you need to create platforms for your ambassadors to deliver these messages. Some ideas include blogs, lunch and learns and opportunities to present at Town Hall meetings.
For more information on employee ambassador programs, download VTLO’s white paper, Bringing Power to Your People: How to Create a Dynamic Employee Ambassador Program.