An important first step for businesses is recognizing the trust gap. Business executives continue to overestimate how much they are trusted by employees and consumers. And they’re more off the mark today than they were in the last two years, according to a recent report by PWC.

I recently came across research highlighting the most discussed topics among CEOs this year. One report particularly stood out, emphasizing that trust is more than just a virtue — it is a vital asset. This research underscores that trust presents both challenges and opportunities for business executives, consumers, and employees. I believe that any business owner can benefit from prioritizing trust, a principle I firmly uphold at One Step.

The survey shows that 95% of business executives believe that organizations have a responsibility to build trust. Similarly, 92% of consumers and 94% of employees maintain this belief, underscoring a broad consensus on the importance of trust. More importantly, 93% of business executives agree that building and maintaining trust directly improves the bottom line. This data makes it clear: trust is not just a moral imperative but a business one as well.


Is there a Trust Gap?

An interesting fact about this survey results is that “executives often overestimate the level of trust they command among employees and consumers. While 90% of business executives think customers highly trust their companies, only 30% of consumers agree.”

The result is clear to me that there is a gap between our beliefs and our costumer's belief. The question is: how do we all build trust and is there a formula for this?

Building trust is becoming increasingly difficult, in my opinion. Some of the issues that I believe affect company’s ability to build trust are:

Lack of Clear Ownership: Nearly a quarter of business executives feel that there is no specific person or team responsible for managing and fostering trust within their company. This lack of designated responsibility can lead to confusion and inconsistency in how trust is built and maintained among employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Without clear ownership, it is challenging to develop and implement effective strategies to enhance trust, measure progress, and ensure accountability.

Unclear Stakeholder Expectations: This one come from the research I mentioned above, and I am not surprised. The survey shows that 24% of business executives are uncertain about the needs, preferences, and expectations of their stakeholders (such as customers, employees, investors, and partners). This percentage has increased from 17% in the previous year, indicating that more executives are struggling with this issue now. This confusion can lead to misaligned strategies and efforts, as companies may not effectively address the actual concerns and priorities of their stakeholders.

Supply Chain Challenges: Executives often struggle to change supply chain processes due to high costs, worsened by inflation. “30% of executives cite an inability to change supply chain processes and materials due to cost as one of the top three issues they face, more than any other factor (up from 23% in 2023).” These challenges significantly affect trust among stakeholders. For customers, delays, stock shortages, and price hikes undermine confidence in reliability and affordability. Employees, especially those facing customers, may distrust leadership due to frequent customer dissatisfaction and unaddressed challenges. Investors may doubt management and prospects if supply chain problems cause financial instability. Proactive handling and transparent communication are vital to minimize trust erosion. To address these issues, consider the following strategies:

Optimize Inventory: Ensure inventory levels are accurate so suppliers can meet demand, leading to a smoother supply chain.

Use Automation: Streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency with automation for tasks like order processing, inventory management, and shipping.

Evaluate Suppliers: Regularly assess supplier performance to ensure a well-functioning supply chain and maintain a competitive edge.

Building and maintaining trust should be a collective effort across the organization. Engaging stakeholders effectively and transparently can bridge these gaps to build stronger relationships. Trust must be cultivated from within, starting with the workplace environment.

In running a business, people are the cornerstone; without them, the business cannot thrive. They are intricately tied to the customer experience. When individuals are in roles that suit them, they enhance the customer experience. Conversely, if customers are dissatisfied, it can affect how they treat employees who are trying to provide them with a service.

I don’t have the perfect formula, but there are couple of things I’ve learned in my 38+ years of running One Step; to foster trust across all levels of an organization, consider the following:

Support and Mentorship: Investing in training and mentorship can build confidence and trust in these employees.

Team Building: In-person team-building activities will increase employee trust in their employer.

Employee Involvement: Trust within a company significantly increases when employees are involved in important decisions. Research indicates that 83% of people regain trust when they are actively included in the decision-making process. When employees feel valued and involved, they are more likely to speak positively about their company and recommend its products or services to their network. This not only boosts internal morale but also enhances the company's reputation externally. Customers are more likely to trust recommendations from employees who work directly for the company. Don’t you think?


Bottom line...

...building trust is not a complex problem, but it does require sustained effort. Once trust is built, it must also be maintained. By fostering open communication, demonstrating trust in employees, and engaging stakeholders effectively, companies can build a robust foundation of trust. This foundation not only enhances relationships but also drives business success, providing a competitive edge in today’s market.


Scott KreisbergBest regards,
Scott Kreisberg
CEO of One Step Secure IT