Trust is Prioritized by Business Executives, but not in Board Governance: Deloitte

According to a new poll done by the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program, while business leaders understand the value of trust in their organizations, they do not regularly prioritize it in their board governance plans.

The findings revealed that 94% of respondents thought trust was “essential” for their organization’s performance, with only 39% believing their organizations had achieved a high degree of trust maturity.

One of the survey’s primary conclusions is that ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues are becoming a major driver of trust. ESG was deemed a priority by 61% of respondents during the next three years.

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According to the poll, while both the CEO and the board are held accountable for managing trust in the organization, the boards have more work to do to make trust a priority on the agenda.

Only 28% of respondents indicated their boards discussed trust at least twice a year, and 10% stated they do not address trust at all.

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, emphasizes the importance of operationalizing trust as a business priority, saying, “Operationalizing trust requires leaders to ensure that an organization’s purpose is fully contextualized within its circumstances, including those of the broader industry, as well as its own access to the different levers that can make an impact.”

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“This means that purpose must be defined both in broad and specific terms; organizations need to not only articulate clear values, but also define the specific behaviors that leaders, teams, and individuals can display to translate these values and build trust with stakeholders in their daily lives.”

The poll emphasizes the importance of firms prioritizing trust and incorporating it into their governance initiatives. Business leaders should collaborate to ensure that trust is operationalized, discussed on a regular basis, and recognized as a critical component of organizational success.

The survey, titled “How boards are nurturing and measuring stakeholder trust,” included responses from 177 directors and C-suite executives from 30 countries.

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