A new survey conducted by the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program has shown that while business leaders recognise the importance of trust in their organisations, they do not consistently prioritise it in their board governance strategies.
The results showed that 94% of the respondents considered trust as “important” for their organisation’s performance, with just 39% categorising their organisations as achieving a high level of trust maturity.
One of the key findings of the survey is that ESG (environmental, social, and governance) matters are rising as a major driver of trust. A total of 61% of the respondents considered ESG as a priority over the next three years.
The survey also found that while both the CEO and the board are seen as responsible for managing trust in the organisation, boards have more work to do to make trust a prominent feature on the agenda.
Only 28% of the respondents said their boards put trust on the agenda twice a year or more, and 10% reported that they do not discuss trust at all as a board.
Michael Bondar, Deloitte Global Enterprise Trust Leader, says, “For businesses, earning and protecting stakeholder trust is fundamental to ongoing viability and success, not just in terms of reputation, but as an important driver of financial performance.”
Seah Gek Choo, Boardroom Program Leader, Deloitte Southeast Asia, emphasises the importance of operationalising trust as a business priority, saying, “Operationalising trust requires leaders to ensure that an organisation’s purpose is fully contextualized within its circumstances – including that of the broader industry, as well as its own access to the different levers that can make an impact."
"This means that purpose must be defined both in broad and specific terms; organisations need to not only articulate clear values, but also define the specific behaviours that leaders, teams, and individuals can display to translate these values and build trust with stakeholders in their daily lives.”
The survey highlights the need for businesses to prioritise trust and make it a key part of their governance strategies. Business leaders should work together to ensure that trust is operationalized, discussed regularly, and seen as a fundamental aspect of organizational success.
The survey, titled “How boards are nurturing and measuring stakeholder trust”, polled 177 directors and C-suite executives from 30 countries.