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"Trust is a vital, forward-looking indicator"

Investing in trust can improve profits, members told.

There has been an "enormous" shift in trust from governments to employers, Airmic members heard at last month's webinar on the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer. In particular, trust in CEO's has risen to 76%, an eleven-point shift in just one year, the report revealed.

The global survey of 33,000 individuals revealed trust is today a powerful asset for organisations, and that "my employer" (75 percent) is significantly more trusted than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent), government (48 percent) and media (47 percent).

"If there is one piece of this presentation that you put in front of your CEO's this would be it," Matt Reeves from AXA XL told members. "The issues and narrative may not change but it's very useful to be able to see it quantified and the tangible benefits. 76% is a very valuable metric."

The survey results show that trust at work - a phrase coined by Edelman to encompass the employer-employee contract - is "going to become more and more important", Mr Reeves added. "More employees will be going into interviews with questions about the moral behaviour of their prospective companies."

It is increasingly clear that investing in employee trust has a clear positive impact on the company's bottom line, the webinar heard. Indeed, 73 percent of respondents believe a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.

 "[Investing in employee trust] shouldn't be seen as [just a] cost, but I think in the past it probably has been," said Mr Reeves. "This is an investment into the P&L as much as an investment into the people."

Trust is now viewed as a vital, forward-looking indicator for both businesses and societal trends, members heard. "It is a predictor of whether stakeholders will find you credible in the future, whether you'll be able to embrace new innovations you introduce and whether people will support and defend you," said Julia Graham, Airmic's deputy CEO and technical director. "In the current era of digital innovation, this has never been more important for businesses."

One of the underlying themes of this year's report was a broad sense of injustice and desire for change, especially among the "uninformed" public. Indeed, only one in five people globally believe that the system is "working for them".

Ms Graham noted that these trends are of relevance to organisations and risk managers: "From a geopolitical risk point of view, there are some real signals in here for organisations to understand these dynamics and how it might affect them, especially in terms of supply chain and how it might impact where goods are coming from."

Click here to listen to the webinar.

Click here to read the 2019 Edelman Trust report