Global Survey of Workplace Trust Highlights Weaknesses

Barbara Kimmel
5 min readApr 14, 2021

By Barbara Brooks Kimmel

Few would argue that trust permanently impacts every workplace in both the short and long-term. Trust also impacts relationships with external stakeholders including customers, suppliers, and community members, to name just a few. Remote work during the pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen and, in many cases, rebuild lost trust. However, the challenge remains in understanding what trust means in stakeholder engagement, and the acknowledgment and willingness to take the actions required to elevate it. Employee surveillance software and vacation bonuses certainly won’t get you across the trust finish line, so what will? I will give you a hint. All trust is interpersonal and leadership must set the example.

In the workplace, Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) considers trust to be the OUTCOME of principled behavior and our Trust Alliance members, some of the world’s leading trust scholars and practitioners, spent over a year identifying and reaching consensus on twelve primary behaviors impacting trust. We call them TAP (Trust Alliance Principles) and they have now been freely accessed over 150,000 times in 16 languages. The interpersonal behaviors are equally weighted with the weakest behaviors breaking the trust chain. If the weak behaviors are not identified (and they often differ from team to team even in the same organization), how can trust be built or rebuilt?

As talk of “reopening” continues, let us take a look at what our ongoing workplace trust survey (Building Trust One Principle at a Time) results are showing. Anyone can take this survey by clicking on the link on our website. We now have results from well over 600 respondents, and they have been consistent over time.

Tracking (46.57%), Accountability (43.22%), Transparency (37.48%) and Notice (32.22%) represent the top four weaknesses according to employees in over 600 workplaces worldwide. Now that we have this information, what should we do with it? I reached out to some of our Trust Council members for their thoughts about the results and how leaders should be tackling the weaknesses.

Linda Fisher Thornton, CEO of Leading in Context LLC and one of our original TAP Committee members offered this. These results are

Barbara Kimmel

Founder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. Author of Award Winning TRUST Inc. series