A large majority of CEOs say building greater trust among external stakeholders and customers is a top-three priority for their organisation today.
In recent years, and particularly since the global financial crisis, public opinion has been highly critical of big business. Many CEOs believe there will be little improvement in this sentiment in the near future. Just one in three CEOs worldwide expect public trust in business to get better in the next 3 years although this figure rises to forty percent in the Republic of Ireland and is higher again in Northern Ireland at fifty two percent.
Negative public opinion will usually have a direct impact on business. From data breaches to poor customer service – the pace at which negative public sentiment can go viral is now measured in minutes.
Partly for this reason, and in recognition of the growing importance of brand and reputation to business success, a large majority of CEOs say building greater trust among external stakeholders and customers is a top-three priority for their organisation today – significantly higher in both Northern Ireland (88 percent) and the Republic of Ireland (87 percent) than the global average (61 percent).
Yet building integrity and improving how the organisation is perceived is far from easy, and cannot be achieved in the short term. Indeed, organisations that seem overly keen to demonstrate their principles, through expensive marketing campaigns, may find their efforts met with cynicism.
With this in mind, we believe it is critical to have a long-term focus on building a respectful and transparent culture within organisations. CEOs in Northern Ireland (96 percent) and the Republic of Ireland (87 percent) say they are placing greater importance on trust, values and culture in order to sustain their future. This is higher than the global average of three in four (74 percent).
Kering’s Pinault agrees with the importance of a values-based culture. “An inclusive culture is vitally important in our industry,” he says, “to bring the diversity of thought we need to innovate and grow our business.”
Finally almost all (Republic of Ireland 97 percent and Northern Ireland 96 percent) CEOs in this year’s survey correlate being a more empathetic organisation with higher earnings. Companies today are increasingly realising that building trust is consistent with their business objectives.