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Brief Published: 30 Mar 2020

Covid-19 Comms: Employers' Key Role

Globally, 78% of people expect businesses to act to protect employees and the local community

Globally, people believe their employers to be the most credible source of information regarding the coronavirus, trusted above the government and traditional media, according to the new Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report.

Including responses from 10 countries, the survey found that businesses in particular have a critical role to play in providing reliable and timely information to employees, and helping tackle the crisis.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents reported they would believe information from employer communications after one or two exposures, compared with 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media.

While mainstream news organisations are relied upon for gaining news on Covid-19, there is significant concern around the spread of fake news and false information, with 74% saying they worry about this.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents want to hear less from politicians and more from scientists – who were revealed to be the most trusted spokespeople. Around 60% are concerned that the coronavirus impact is being overstated for political gain. Government officials and journalists ranked the least trustworthy, with less than 50% trusting them.

And there are high hopes around companies taking positive action in the face of the crisis, with 78% of those surveyed expecting businesses to act to protect employees and the local community.

The findings chime with those from the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, which uncovered widespread distrust towards major societal institutions including government and the media. Businesses should recognise their critical role in filling this trust gap, and step in to offer information from reliable sources – such as scientists and public health authorities – and lead efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

For more on harnessing employee confidence and building a resilient workforce, look out for our upcoming report Work Rewired: Working in Turbulent Times, publishing Thursday April 2.