Employees Have Rising Moral Expectations for Their Employers

February 9, 2021
LRN Corporation

People are looking to business to help stymie the effects of the pandemic, and employees are expecting the most out of the companies for which they work.

According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, business is the only institution seen as both competent and ethical, and the only institution that is trusted.

Seventy-six percent of people globally trust their employer to do what’s right. That number drops to 61% for business, 57% for non-governmental organizations, 53% for the government, and 51% for the media

At the same time, trust in societal leaders to do what’s right has dropped across the board. Government leaders are at the bottom of the barrel–only 41% of people trust them; religious leaders (42%) and journalists (45%) aren’t far behind. Even scientists, the most trusted societal leaders, saw a drop seven percentage point drop, to 73%, from last year.

The findings are based on a poll of over 31,000 people across 28 countries, and show people are expecting business to fill the void left by the government. Sixty-eight percent of people think CEOs should step in when the government doesn’t fix a societal problem.

Similarly, 66% think CEOs should take the lead on change instead of waiting for governments, and 65% say CEOs need to hold themselves accountable to the public, not just stockholders. And 86% of people expect CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges, like the pandemic’s impact, job automation and local community issues.

Employee expectations are shifting, too; since last year, more employees think it’s important for employers to keep workers and customers safe, offer job skills training programs, give regular communications to employees, and have a diverse workforce.

People are more fearful than a year ago, as 84% of employees list job loss as a concern, and 56% worry that the pandemic will accelerate the rate at which employees are replaced by automation.

About the Author

LRN Corporation

Ethics and compliance leader providing tools, education, and advisory services for global companies to inspire principled performance.

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