The answer may be surprising to some, but YES! Trust among businesses has hit the highest level since the Great Recession, according to findings from the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm, issues a global survey each year to measure public trust. The survey analyzes four different industries: Business, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Government and Media. Collectively, all four industries have reached their highest levels of trust among the public in years. Specifically, businesses saw the largest increase in trust among both the informed public and general population.
Results show that trust is rising in the elite or "informed public" group, but the "mass population" levels, unfortunately, remain stagnant. As noted in the survey, the informed public is described as those who are between the ages of 25 and 64, are college educated, engaged in media and have an income in the top 25 percent in each country surveyed. The gap levels between the informed public and mass population were alarming, but Edelman’s findings show that businesses have the best chance of bridging that gap by making positive changes. After all, 80 percent of those surveyed agree that it’s up to businesses to lead in solving societal issues.
Edelman encourages CEOs to take action and focus on making long term impacts to address social issues over short term financial successes. They also believe CEOs should practice ethical leadership and share personal values with stakeholders. Last but not least, Edelman believes that if businesses build trust from within and empower their employees, they will in turn become company advocates who will continue to grow the public’s trust.