January 31, 2013

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in Our Ideas, Trust


2013 Edelman Trust Barometer Canadian Findings

I was thrilled to release the Canadian findings from the 13th annual Edelman Trust Barometer today at an exclusive luncheon event at the Windsor Arms Hotel.  This Barometer marks our largest exploration of trust to date, and is the largest of its kind.  For 2013, we surveyed more than 31,000 respondents in 26 markets across the globe – including more than 1,000 respondents here in Canada – and measured their trust in institutions, industries and leaders.

It was great to host so many of our clients in addition to our exceptional panellists:

John Fraser, Master of Massey College, Canadian author and journalist moderated the discussion.

Each provided us with their thought-provoking views on the state of trust in Canada.  Even if you weren’t at the event, you’ll be able to hear some of their views on our blog in the coming weeks.

Overall, the main theme that’s come out across the globe including here at home in Canada is a crisis in leadership.  As we saw in the 2012 trust data, academics, technical experts and “a person like yourself” continue to be seen as the most credible spokespeople among Canadians, while CEOs and government officials remain at the bottom.

But it goes much deeper than that.  In fact, among informed public in most markets around the world – these are folks who are college-educated and who are significantly engaged in business news and public policy – less than 50 per cent say that government and business leaders are credible sources of information about a company.

In fact in Canada, only 35 per cent say CEOs are credible, and 45 per cent say the same about government officials.  Why?  Well, the numbers are telling.  Only 10 per cent of Canadians trust business leaders a great deal to make ethical and moral decisions – and only eight per cent trust government leaders to do the same.  Meanwhile, only seven per cent trust business leaders a great deal to tell the truth regardless of how complex or unpopular the truth is – and it’s even lower for government, at five per cent.

So the question becomes – what do we do about it?

In this year’s Barometer, we’ve put together 16 attributes to building trust, grouped into five performance clusters. In order of importance, they are:  Engagement, Integrity, Products & Services, Purpose, and Operations.

In other words, to truly build trust, engagement needs to be priority number one, which includes things like listening to customer needs, treating employees well and placing customers ahead of profits.  Integrity follows at a close second, which includes ethical and transparent business practices and taking responsible actions to address an issue or crisis.

The bottom line is, you cannot just be a good operator.  Engagement and integrity simply cannot be ignored when it comes to growing and building trust.  Trust is fragile, and what leaders do to maintain it matters.

You can view the full Canadian deck below.  Please also visit our blog over the coming weeks for more perspectives and insight on the state of trust in Canada.

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