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Trust in a Brexit world

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them" – words from Ernest Hemingway which ring truer than ever in 2019 Brexit-bound Britain.

The trouble is, many of us in the UK are increasingly distrusting of people in power, with trust in our senior politicians falling to an all-time low.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 59 per cent of the general population don't think the government is listening to them and, since the Brexit referendum, 69 per cent of people have become angrier about politics, citing a lack of authenticity as a key reason.

Instead, Edelman has found, Britons expect business – and business leaders – to address some of the big issues impacting the country, such as equal pay, the environment and training for the jobs of tomorrow.

They want their employers to be a trustworthy source of information about social issues and topics closer to their own workplace. Those employees who trust their employers are more likely to be loyal, engaged, committed and act as brand advocates.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a gap in terms of what people want and who they actually trust – the Edelman survey found that while 57 per cent of people rate their colleagues on the same level as credible, only 39 per cent think their bosses are a credible source of information.

The challenge, therefore, is for our leaders to step up to the plate and help forge a better Britain.

The challenge for us as communicators – as advisers and business partners – is to help line managers and senior leaders to understand what is required of them and support them practically to become the go-to people for credible information.

Easier said than done. We all know leaders who are open, honest and brilliant at engaging their people. We also hear every day of managers and executives who are economical with the truth and have a closed-door policy.

At Sequel, an increasing part of our role is to support organisations in their journeys to produce more credible corporate messages. And it's why we decided to hold our next breakfast seminar on the subject of trust. Scheduled for Brexit Day itself – March 29 at the time of writing (!) – we thought it would be more topical than ever and, given the blurring of boundaries between politics and business, our two speakers are particularly relevant.

Rachel Royall, now director of internal comms at NHS Digital and with previous experience of working in the communications team in the Cabinet Office, will be joined by Paul Richards, a former advisor to Tony Blair's government and now a communications consultant.

They'll share their insights into what we mean by trust and how businesses can take a lead, using learnings from the good, the bad and the ugly of politics.

Come and join us! Email [email protected] for more details.

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