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Why employees still doubt their CEOs

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Distrust levels in CEOs are still high, as new findings from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer reveal confidence levels in CEOs have plateaued from previous years.

While CEO trust has recovered from a low of 31% in 2009 to 43% this year, “they still rank seventh out of eight, sitting only above government officials (36%), as most credible spokesperson,” the report found.

The survey, which canvassed 33,000 people from 27 markets around the world, ranked various other classes of the labour force, such as academics (67%), technical experts (66%), and employees (52%) above CEOs when it came to trust levels.

The barometer suggested CEOs can increase confidence in themselves and their companies by communicating clearly and transparently (82%), telling the truth regardless of how unpopular it is (81%), and engaging regularly with employees (80%).

“People trust business to innovate, unite and deliver across borders in a way that government can’t. That trust comes with the expectation and responsibility to maintain it,” Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, said.

“Therefore, CEOs must become chief engagement officers in order to educate the public about the economic, societal, political and environmental context in which their business operates.”

The findings were even more significant considering the key focus of the survey, which was to analyse the increasing role of corporate organisations in deciding governmental policies.

With 79% of international respondents believing governments should not be working alone when setting policy, global trust in government was also found to have significantly declined.

Additionally, local trust in Singaporean media, government, business and NGOs was found to have declined slightly from last year.

Singapore’s trust index fell from 76 to 73 points in 2014, coming in at third place internationally right behind UAE and China. This was a slight descend from second place in 2013.

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