In the newly released Edelman Trust Barometer for 2017, the news gets worse for CEOs. Compared to last year's report, the trust placed in CEOs fell to a brand new low with only 37% finding them credible. For years, the Trust Barometer has shown CEOs behind in credibility compared to peers, academic experts and technical experts. But never has the gap been this wide.
From what I can tell, for the first time ever, peers (someone like yourself) are seen as just as credible as the experts. And per the findings, even the average employee is seen as more credible than the CEO or board of directors.
But no one is safe from this "implosion of trust," a term used by Edelman in the report. Every single audience segment, even peers, experienced a trust decline from 2016. And for anyone who witnessed the recent political cycle, this probably doesn't come as a total surprise.
Despite the negative tone of the 2017 report, there is a glimmer of hope for communicators. When asked what's something that companies can do to build trust. Far and away, the number one answer was to simply treat employees well. That can be very subjective but the sentiment is there. And what's interesting is that among those who believe the system has failed, the effort of treating employees well is even more important.