Trust has different meanings for different people in different scenarios. There are a number of positive attributes associated with trust within an organisation, for instance, responsibility, integrity, accountability, fairness, equity, reliability, honesty, and respect. Trust may not be well recorded on balance sheets, neither is it listed as a key performance indicator, however, it is a key-value driver and an indispensable asset to a business.
Trust is not a materialistic thing, thus cannot be bought. It is something that builds up eventually, requires an investment of time and resources, and can sometimes take years to earn. It is subjected to continual review, with steps required to strengthen the notion with each new engagement.
Lack of trust can incur huge costs to the business. To name a few; loss of sales, excessive marketing, difficulties in raising capital and the most important, time consumed in recovering trust back. Going by the age-old proverb which says ‘time is money’, it really does apply to the corporate world. Time spent in recovering trust is time spent in losing out to prospect leads, suppliers, clients and many more such auxiliary entities that would have added value to your business and created a positive impact on the bottom line.
Any negativity which surrounds an organisation’s goodwill makes it more complex and expensive for it to do business, drastically impacting its intangible assets. Moreover, given the modern business relationships, it seems unlikely that a business can gain universal trust.
In this age of digitalisations, businesses should be aware of the fact that nothing can remain hidden. In the first place, if a business is looking to gain trust, it should practice transparency. The growth of social media, more digital penetration into the corporate world and
Businesses operate in a global fishbowl where it must be assumed that nothing will remain undiscovered or secret. The growth in social media, citizen journalism, and citizen accountability mean that individuals/institutions are no longer reliant on corporate disclosures. The ability of anyone with a smartphone to independently fact-check corporate disclosures, then instantly mobilise the global twitterati or civic society groups, means that trust-threatening stories spread faster and further than ever. Inconsistency incorporate messaging or non-disclosure of problematic events can escalate from a small, resolvable issue into a reputation-threatening crisis. Any superficial attempts at trust remediation can fall foul of TripAdvisor-like external scrutiny from groups who feel betrayed.