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1 in 4 Millennials prioritise Value to Society as most important driver of trust in business

Research reveals half of society believe integrity is key to rebuild trust in business

New research from the City of London Corporation shows that many people believe having integrity is critical to rebuilding trust in financial and professional services businesses.

In November 2017, Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of London, launched the City of London Corporation’s Business of Trust initiative. The Business of Trust programme established five Civic Principles as foundations for increasing trust in business.

Key findings from the research show that almost half of people (46%) say a focus on integrity is most important principle business should focus on in order to build public trust.

In the survey, more than 9 out of 10 people said that competence and skills, integrity, value to society, clear communication and a focus on the interests of others are key principles that businesses must consider in order to be trusted by the public.

Views varied depending on occupation and sector. 54% of respondents from Accountancy, Banking and Finance prioritised Integrity, while 36% of respondents from Healthcare prioritised Competence and Skills. 43% of respondents from Marketing, Advertising & PR prioritised Clear Communication.

The survey, conducted between March and November 2018, sought views on these principles, and what practical actions people and organisations can take, to increase trust in business.

There were over 600 respondents to the survey open to individuals in a personal or professional capacity. Respondents came from professions and communities from across the UK, including healthcare, law, education, government and business.

Millennials have different views on the drivers of trust than their parents and grandparents.

According to Global Tolerance’s 2015 research ‘The Values Revolution’, almost half the workforce (42%) now want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world, the survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found 44% thought meaningful work that helped others was more important than a high salary and 36% would work harder if their company benefitted society.

However, amongst Millennials, those aged over 19 and under 30, 62% want to work for a company that makes a positive impact, half prefer purposeful work to a high salary, and 53% would work harder if they were making a difference to others. 

Only one in ten of those aged over 66 prioritise ‘Value to Society’ as the most important driver of trust in business, but this principle becomes increasingly important as we move down the generations. 

More than a quarter (26%) of Millennials said it was the most important principle to improving trust. 

  Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:

“These findings show that the public strongly believe that financial and professional services business can rebuild trust if they incorporate key values into how they act and run their companies.

“There is no short-term fix or single solution, with different communities and age groups prioritising different principles as most important to building trust – but by taking a lead on demonstrating positive actions and values, firms can meet the changing expectations of society.

“With behaviour and culture increasingly under the public microscope businesses are looking to review their values and culture to meet the changing, and varied, expectations of consumers, employees and the public.”

Results showed a clear desire, across all ages and sectors, for businesses to have a clear purpose beyond profit-making.

Other popular actions to increase trust included: empowering frontline staff with the tools to resolve customer/client problems, incorporating organisational values into appraisals, and publishing Chief Executive’s contact details, so that stakeholders can provide direct feedback.

Alongside the survey, the City of London Corporation will be launching a new website on Wednesday 7 November, to help businesses navigate the complex area of Trust.  “Navigating the trust journey” provides practical help to businesses to guide them on their trust journey.

It will also provide inspiration to think about how their organisation engages with its stakeholders. What more can they do to build and maintain trust? Where do they want to be in the future?

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