Trust and the Private Sector's COVID-19 Response

Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on COVID-19 Demonstrates Essential Role of the Private Sector
Trust and the Private Sector's COVID-19 Response

To help Edelman's clients communicate at this crucial time, they conducted a study from March 6 to March 10 in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. It confirms the role business must play as a source of reliable and timely information.

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that “my employer” was the most trusted institution by 18 points over business in general and NGOs, by 27 points over government and media. The private sector must take on considerable new responsibility during the COVID-19 response.

Here are the key findings from the study:

  1. The Most Credible Source Is Employer Communications. Sixty-three percent said that they would believe information from that channel after one or two exposures, versus 58 percent for a government website and 51 percent for traditional media.
  2. The Most Relied-on Source of Information Is Mainstream News Organizations. The major news outlets are relied upon nearly twice as much as global health organizations (WHO) or national health organizations (CDC).
  3. The Most Trusted Spokespeople. Scientists and doctors are the most trusted, along with WHO and CDC officials (scores range from 68 percent – 83 percent). There is also a reliance on “a person like yourself” (63 percent).
  4. The Need for Frequent Communication. Employers are expected to update information regularly on COVID-19, with 63 percent asking for daily updates, 20 percent wanting communications several times a day.
  5. My Employer is Better Prepared Than My Country. In eight of 10 countries surveyed, “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than my country.
  6. Government and Business Expected to Team Up. There is twice as much trust in a combined business/government effort than in government combating the virus alone (45 percent versus 20 percent).
  7. High Expectations of Business to Act. Seventy-eight percent of respondents expect business to act to protect employees and the local community.
  8. Employers Must Share Information. Employees want clarity on everything from how many colleagues have contracted the virus (57 percent) to how the virus is affecting the organization’s ability to operate (53 percent).

Download the full special report here.

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