Why you should love the Edelman Trust Barometer

In today’s tumultuous world, rife with heated political and social debate, trust within many groups is at a minimum. Edelman, a global communications firm, publishes annual reports that analyze the public’s trust of four key institutions: the government, businesses, NGOs, and the media.

By providing a measure of trust in these institutions, Edelman offers a baseline for how satisfied the general public is with the current flow of information. The reports also highlight gaps between entities and niche communities where trust levels could use improvement.

In 2020, the Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report focused on competence and ethics.

“The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that despite a strong global economy and near full employment, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures—government, business, NGOs and media—is trusted. The cause of this paradox can be found in people’s fears about the future and their role in it, which are a wake-up call for our institutions to embrace a new way of effectively building trust: balancing competence with ethical behavior.”

Some of the highlights from the 2020 report included:

  • Declining trust in capitalism and heightened awareness around income inequality
  • Automation, increased competition, and tumultuous economies are contributing to a growing concern from employees about job stability
  • Not one of the four institutions (business, media, NGOs, government) currently delivers with regard to both competence and ethics

Most recently, Edelman released a special report on COVID-19. Similar to the trust report of 2019 and 2020, the data shows that businesses play a critical role in distributing timely, relevant, and reliable information.

Key findings from this study show the following:

  • While the general public is concerned about the spread of false information, the most relied-on source of information is mainstream news organizations, not global health organizations (WHO) or national health organizations (CDC)
  • Scientists and MDs are the most trusted spokespeople alongside WHO and CDC officials, and most people want to hear less from politicians
  • Most survey respondents frequently check the news and expect updates more than once a day
  • Nearly 80% of the respondents expect businesses to adapt operations in the time of COVID, like bring all work remotely

Trust in the media, businesses, NGOs, and governments will surely continue to evolve, as the global economic, political, and social trends that shape trust are also always changing. We can look to the Edelman Trust Barometer for an analysis of the public perception of certain entities, as a way to identify areas for refinement, and also a consistent measure of our progress.

As organizations navigate this pandemic, education benefits and learning and development benefits will play a key role in building employee confidence and trust.

Written by Guild Education

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