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Nothing gets me more frustrated as a customer than witnessing gaps between stated corporate cultures/values and the reality. I find I do not trust businesses that spout about nirvana but deliver Justin Bieber.

In January each year Edelman.com publishes its trustbarometer Annual Global Study. Now we are nearly half way through 2014, it seemed timely to look again at the 2014 findings around employees’ roles in creating and maintaining the public’s trust in their business. www.edelman.com

“In 5 years, the credibility of regular employees has increased dramatically, ahead of that of the CEO.” “Employees are the most credible voices on multiple topics, including the company’s work environment, integrity, innovation and business practices.”

My question for business is ” Do you have a strategy around building trust in your brand that give employees scope and opportunity to play the fullest role possible? or is your organisation one of those with a CEO figurehead, a brutal and controlling social media policy or worse still, stated values and culture which are merely rhetoric?”

The good news coming from the 2014 Edelman trustbarometer is that there are actions businesses can take that will increase the levels of trust in their organisation. I particularly like their final recommendation that is:

“Foster a culture of “speaking out” and advocating for the company, especially on topics where employees are highly credible, such as working conditions, integrity and business practices, and technical experts on innovation.”

With all that in mind, there is time in 2014 to revisit your brand strategies to see if more could be done to put the employees front and centre, where they belong, and to close the gap between the rhetoric used around cultures and values and the reality. The evidence is that it is worth closing the gap. Businesses that are trusted make more money. Need I say more?