The old mantra used to be 'customer-first', but now it’s 'employee-first'
Employees are looking for trusted sources of information in a time of change and disruption, according to Adelle Keely, Chief Executive at Acumen Republic.
Indeed, the 2019 Acumen Edelman Trust Baromete found that while New Zealanders’ overall trust in the major institutions has remained flat since last year’s study, “my employer” is significantly more trusted (74%) than government (50%), NGOs (48%), business (47%), and media (34%).
Keely added that there is a growing expectation for business leaders to step up. Three-quarters of employees want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it. This has increased by 15 points since last year.
Employees are also looking for purpose in their jobs – calling for shared action with their employers (61%). Companies that do are rewarded with greater commitment (85%), advocacy (81%) and loyalty (67%) from their employees.
Keely said the old mantra used to be “customer-first”, but now it’s “employee-first”.
Treatment of employees is seen as one of the most powerful indicators of trustworthiness (78%). These employees will then help to deliver for the customer.
“Trust in business shows the biggest gender divide. This is likely the result of lack of female representation and reporting around pay equity and the #metoo movement.”
Keely added that this year’s findings present an opportunity for a new employer-employee contract, with a greater focus on building trust inside and outside the organisation.
“Employers need to lead on change, address workers’ concerns, provide information and equip employees for the future,” she said.
They should demonstrate their relevance and contribute to the communities where they operate. This is particularly important for those not headquartered in New Zealand.
“Finally, employees want to see leadership – they want the senior team to be visible and show a personal commitment to creating positive change, from equal pay to protecting the environment and ensuring employees are equipped with the skills for the digital workplace,” said Keely.
“All organisations should see this as an opportunity. The potential for building trust is within the remit of every employer and has never been greater.”