Building trust from the inside out

Rebuilding trustWe’re experiencing a defining moment in communications and ‘engagement’ – with companies realising that the best way of building trust and reputation is from the inside out.

For many years ENGAGE has been advising its clients around how to enhance their performance through employee engagement. We all know that no two organisations are the same – they have different cultures, different values, face different challenges and are going through different types of change. So we believe engagement needs to be tailored and meaningful for each individual organisation.

Of course, it’s the employees who deliver all of this – employees are a company’s most important stakeholders. And how employees behave every day is absolutely vital to business success. A company that has done well to embrace this ethos is leading telco O2 – whose approach is to convert customers into ‘brand fans’ because of their hyper-engaged employees.

Many companies are still measuring only what their employees think when what really matters is what employees do. Are they exhibiting the winning behaviours that deliver your business outcomes, support your brand promise and build trust in your business?


At EdelmanENGAGE, a partnership between Edelman, the world’s largest PR and communications firm, and ENGAGE, we’re advising our clients to measure what employees do as well as what they think – placing employee engagement at the heart of every business strategy, plan and decision.


Here’s a practical five point plan to get started:

  1. Scrap your old employee engagement survey. Chances are this is the same survey you’ve been running for years. It’s generic, it doesn’t ask questions that are specific to your business and strategy, and it doesn’t tell you whether employees are doing what’s needed to deliver your business outcomes.
  2. Define the employee behaviours that really make a difference. Do some smart analytic work to understand the three or fours things that employees can do every day that will have the most impact on business success. Then focus your engagement activities on these winning behaviours.
  3. Get employees to agree what they can do to help every day. Help your employees see how these winning behaviours relate directly to business success in their local office, store or plant. Get them to agree how they can put the behaviours into practice every day. Show them how they can have a personal and positive impact on the success of your – and their – business.
  4. Start measuring the winning behaviours. You need to know if your engagement programmes are having the desired effect. Treat these measures as you would your most important business metrics. Employees know that you measure what’s important to you so show them that this is every bit as important as your financial measurement.
  5. Involve your employees and ask for their advice. Employees are at the sharp end of your business. They know what will work and what won’t. It’s far from unusual to see employees shaking their heads and sighing about ‘another thoughtless idea from head office.’ Form an online employee panel and test your ideas with them.


Employee engagement is an untapped competitive advantage in almost every company, and it’s important to remember that it’s a key driver of corporate reputation and business success.