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The value of trust in business

The value of trust in business

For business success, add trust

We spend little time talking about trust in business or whether we experience trust at work. We rarely talk about it at home, either. Yet we know it’s essential. It’s the reason people want to work with a team, buy from a company or stay in a relationship. It’s a glue we rarely see, yet value highly.

€31.3 billion was the obvious cost to VW as a result of their diesel emissions scandal. The fall in sales of diesel vehicles affected not just VW but other German car makers too. VW experienced a loss of trust in business which cost the company far more than if they had owned the errors and found solutions.

$200,000 was the average estimated cost in 2015, to repair brand reputational damage caused by information security incidents. In 2021, Facebook said it spent $13 billion on safety and security of information since the 2016 US elections data privacy scandal.

When Queen Elizabeth II died, it was said that “politicians don’t trust anyone, but they trusted her”. That level of trust is something that has to be earned. It cannot be inherited or taken for granted. It is earned by individuals and by organizations. It has a price that can be difficult to define, but its value is high.

Trust has to be the highest value in your company, and if it’s not, something bad is going to happen to you

When trust is a core value in your company, it can have a tremendous impact. Like every value, it needs to be lived and real for it to have meaning. Embedding trust in your organization has a powerful impact on the way people think, work and communicate with each other and with customers. That is the kind of impact that has a direct effect on brand, reputation and shareholder value. 

There’s a world of difference between being trusted and being trustworthy. At REHAU we seek to earn and reward customer as well as employee trust every day because together we make great things happen.

A recent survey by PriceWaterhouse Cooper found that there is a significant gap between the trust consumers have in companies (30%) and the trust business leaders think consumers have in their organizations (87%)1.

In the UK, the same survey revealed that 75% of CEOs are planning on building greater trust with their employees this year2. There are good reasons for improving trust in your organization. High trust organizations typically experience higher levels of innovation, employee engagement, organizational agility and stock market returns3. It is also easier to retain talented people and build the kind of reputation which attracts more talent. Where people are trusted internally, it can make it easier for customers to trust the organization too. Grant Thornton cite research in the automotive manufacturing sector across Japan, the US, Germany and the UK, which found that higher levels of trust  positively correlate with economic performance among suppliers. Contracts with suppliers cannot cover every contingency, so a relationship of trust and communication, is used to fill in the gaps.  

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

How do you improve trust and trustworthiness? How do you as a leader, or manager, build trust in your organization and team?

Over the next few months we will be looking at trust in some detail. Why it’s important to your organization, your employees and your customers. How you can actively build trust in your teams and organization, so that it becomes a force for performance, innovation and flexibility. The benefits of encouraging trust within teams and a trusted way of working. Trust is all about the practical steps and behaviours that individuals take every day. You can tell people to trust you, but it will only happen when they see you behave in a way which is trustworthy.

A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other

Join us on LinkedIn to follow our series of blogs, articles, resources and live sessions. As always, CLS is focused on practical ideas for managers and leaders to help you develop your organization. If you want to improve trust in your organization this year, join us on the journey. 

1 2022 PwC Trust: The new currency for business // 2 2022 Forbes: Customers don’t trust business as much as executives think they should  // 3 2016 Great Place to Work Report The business case for a High-Trust Culture

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