It seems intuitive: a business that wants to be trusted will treat its employees fairly, including paying them a just wage, helping them develop their skills, and providing them with the opportunity to advance their careers. And according to the 2020 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, 80 percent of the public believes that business has a duty to do these things—but only 30 percent believes that business will actually do it.
The findings of the Trust Barometer, released yesterday, indicate that even though business is apparently in the best position to make positive change in the world, a considerable lack of trust still remains among the general public. 54 percent of respondents believe that business serves the interest of only the few, and 56 percent believe that capitalism is doing more harm than good in the world right now.
The findings also highlight multiple areas where businesses can improve in order to regain public trust. Employees want to see their leaders take action: 92 percent of employees want their CEOs and senior management to speak out on issues such as training for the jobs of the future and automation’s impact on jobs. 74 percent say that their CEOs ought to take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it.
Employees also want to be seen and heard: 73 percent expect to be included in their employer’s or prospective employer’s planning, and they also expect to be given the opportunity to help shape the future of society. They want fairness: they believe that businesses absolutely have a duty to retrain employees affected by automation and innovation and to pay every employee a fair wage. And they believe that businesses can and should protect workers in the gig economy.
“It can no longer be business as usual, with an exclusive focus on shareholder returns," said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “With 73 percent of employees saying they want the opportunity to change society, and nearly two-thirds of consumers identifying themselves as belief-driven buyers, CEOs understand that their mandate has changed.”