How Employers Can Build Trust with Employees


Do you trust your employer?

In June 2021, the Edelman Trust Barometer released a special report titled “Trust, The New Brand Equity.” The report examines the relationship between an employee and employer, ever-changing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. No longer is a higher salary or career advancement the primary motivator for employees. Today, 6 out of 10 people are choosing to work for an employer that shares their values and beliefs.

The COVID-19 pandemic is cited throughout the report as instrumental in prompting people worldwide to reconsider their work and their lives. The report also notes that employees not only choose an employer based on their values and beliefs, but they will leave a company for the same reason. 1 in 5 people surveyed quit their jobs in the last six months of the report’s release.

Prior to the pandemic in 2019, the Edelman Trust Barometer reported that the most trusted institution was “My Employer.” Employers are facing a rare opportunity to regain this trust with employees and subsequently put their business on course for walking its talk. Here’s what employers need to focus on doing to build trust with employees.

Leadership must deliver on issues of the day.

This is a non-negotiable requirement, according to the Trust report. The stereotype of a CEO—often depicted behind the curtain in a Wizard of Oz likeness—cannot exist in 2022 and beyond. Today’s Employer, and CEO, must address issues like sustainability, re-training, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

CEOs that get on a soapbox for morally just reasons are even more likely to attract talent to their companies than those that do not or take an opposing stance. One-third of respondents in the report stated that they left organizations that did not take a stand on critical societal or political issues. Some of these issues include human rights, healthcare access, economic inequality, gender equality, and climate change.

Get ready to start publishing more thought leadership pieces this year. The more a leader is willing to take a stand and demonstrate commitment to these issues, the more audiences will listen, and talent will want to work for the business.

Empower employees.

Employees look to employers to address the issues that matter and hold true to their promises. If a business is able to do this, particularly during difficult periods, employees feel a sense of empowerment. They will do everything they can to help the business deliver on its societal commitments.

Communicate often with employees and provide room for feedback. Where are there inclusion opportunities? Does the company culture need to be reevaluated? What else is going on and how can an employee’s voice be heard?

Empowering employees with more information leads to creating opportunities for shared action. When employees are in the loop about decisions and changes, they feel confident that they have a voice within the company. As a result, it becomes easier for everyone to get involved in the planning process and provide leadership their feedback.

Mission statements: review, revise, rewrite accordingly.

Sometimes businesses do not know what they stand for anymore. Or their mission has changed significantly and no longer resembles what it once was. If leadership finds this is true of their business, they’ll need to return to their mission statement and review it.

A mission statement clearly defines the purpose and values of an organization. It should be easy for all shareholders of a business—including customers, employees, and owners—to read a mission statement and understand its purpose and practices. If this is not easy to understand, propose meeting with leadership to revise the mission statement or even conduct a full rewrite.

To that end, it is also a good idea to consider creating a vision statement for the business. Vision statements help set aspirations for what the ideal business plans to achieve in the future.

The mission statement looks to today. Vision statements focus on tomorrow and the world of the future. What significant place will your business have in the future? You can get a glimpse simply by drafting this statement. Once you have a mission and/or vision statement prepared, share the statement with shareholders. Then, get ready to live it and put it into daily practice.

Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.