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  • Writer's picturelindsayannkohler

What to do when your employees don't trust you

This originally appeared on Forbes on April 7, 2024.


In a news cycle of return-to-office mandates and mass layoffs, trust in business and business leaders is taking a hit. The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometerreported that 61% of people don't think business leaders are telling the truth, which is a problem given that the PwC 2024 Trust Survey reports that 93% of business executives agree that building and maintaining trust improves the bottom line.


What is driving this trust gap? And, more importantly, can businesses and leaders rebuild trust once it's been broken? Tonia Ries, Director of the Edelman Trust Institute, and Anthony Abbatiello, PwC US Workforce Transformation Leader, both provide commentary and advice.


Let's start with the most alarming statistic from either report, which is that 61% of people think that business leaders aren't telling the truth. There's a nuance to that finding that's important to note, and that is that while the Edelman report may have found that businesses are the most trusted institute, it's the leaders within that we don't trust. "It's an interesting one in which we trust business, but we don't trust CEOs and we think they're lying to us," Ries says. She then points out that that distrust percentage is similar to distrust levels in both government leaders and journalists, so she surmises that there is probably just general skepticism over whether establishment leaders can be trusted to tell the truth.



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