How internal comms must foster trust

Edelman’s Ashley Zak shares with members how trust is changing in the COVID-19 era.

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The workplace has become a crucial space for employees.

“The workplace is now the town square,” says Ashley Zak, head of U.S. marketing, corporate communications at Edelman. “We’re not really congregating any more. The workplace is our congregation.”

With the workplace being such an important place for people, even if all they do is log in for virtual meetings and townhalls, business leaders occupy a crucial position in our society, and CEOs have been learning how to fill the expanded role in what Edelman now calls the “Chief Empathy Officer.”

Zak shared with members how Edelman research showed that in April, CEOs were getting low scores for their response to the global pandemic—even as they moved mountains to transition employees to remote work and face other hurdles—but she says they expect those scores to have risen in the latest wave of surveys.

Surprisingly, trust in government has risen—despite the uneven response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the federal level. Now government is the most trusted institution, ahead of business, NGOs and the media, Zak says, which is very different from research reported in January.

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