CEO Communications

5 ways to build trust

For many employees, the CEO is just a name and a title. But research tells us that people trust those they know, so creating human connections between employees and the CEO is an important step toward building trust in leadership. Here are five ways to help people feel they know and believe in their company’s top executive:

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Point the way with an inspiring vision

Although CEOs often assume employees throughout the ranks are well aware of his or her vision for the company’s success, our research indicates that the further employees are from the C-Suite, the less they understand about where leadership is trying to take the company. Articulating an inspiring vision and helping employees understand how their individual roles support that vision are important elements of building trust.

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Be straightforward about change

In Tribe’s national research with employees of large companies, respondents said they prefer to hear about major change directly from the CEO, and then be able to ask their managers any follow-up questions. They also want the CEO to shoot straight about how the changes will impact them — particularly if there will be a negative impact. Perhaps ironically, being clear about bad news can help build trust in leadership.

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Make a habit of praising others

Everyone knows no leader succeeds alone, so a CEO who acknowledges the contributions of others is something employees are watching for. Celebrating wins throughout the company, from sales to operations, supply chain to manufacturing, and marketing to customer service, helps build collective pride as well as trust. Even better if that praise is for teams or individuals on the front lines rather than in senior leadership.

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Go to where employees are

Although technology helps us build human connections across geography, there’s no substitute for the power of face-to-face interactions. When employees get to shake hands with the CEO, to have him or her ask about an employee’s work or even just how their day is going, it can build trust. Employees want the CEO to understand what it’s like for them on the front lines, and to be able to share concerns or ideas for better ways to do things.

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Let the employees see the whole person

It helps tremendously when CEOs let employees know a little about what’s going on in their lives when they’re not on the job. In town halls or emails, blogs or videos, on the intranet or in person, they can share details about their family, their interests and even their hardships. Whether they’ve just become a grandparent or are mourning the loss of a beloved pet, employees appreciate hearing that sort of relatable personal news.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]