Sarah Ford | June 22, 2015

Does Your Community Relations Need a Ton of Work?

By Ryan Scott

Public relations firm Edelman has released an annual global survey on trust for the past 14 years, providing a snapshot for how people view governments, leaders, institutions and other entities across the world. For its recently released 2015 Trust Barometer, Edelman processed feedback from 33,000 respondents in 27 countries, and one of the most significant takeaways is the increasingly important role that employees play in building trust.

Overall, the state of trust is poor. Edelman reports that three out of four institutions have lost the global public’s trust, with trust in business, media, and even NGOs suffering over the past year. This has led to the head-scratching result of government being the only institution to experience an uptick (albeit slight) in the past year, driven by improvements in 16 countries. That said, government is still the least trusted institution, with people in 19 out of 27 countries distrusting governments to do what is right.

At the other end of the spectrum, nonprofits are still the most respected institution, but that trust is fading, with nonprofits experiencing a bigger decline in trust than any other institution.

As for business, trust declined for the first time since the Great Recession, with 16 out of 27 countries showing dips in trust. Although still the most trusted industry, the technology industry now has lowered levels of trust, with decreases in the consumer electronics and telecommunications sectors and in technology in general.

If you’re a CEO, you’re at a disadvantage of being the public face of your company’s community relations. The public looks at you with a great deal of skepticism, with only 43 percent believing that you’re a credible spokesperson for your business. Even your own employees don’t trust you all that much, with only 47 percent finding you credible, versus 63 percent of employees who trust information coming from “a regular person just like themselves.”

But employees are a different story.

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