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jphillips
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Trust is a fundamental part of successful business relationships. While this has always been true, recent research has put the focus on the topic of trust. As a result, companies are developing departments and leadership dedicated to strengthening trust among internal and external stakeholders.


In March 2020, SAP joined the growing trend to prioritize trust by establishing the Chief Trust Office. SAP has established a global team, led by the Chief Trust Officer, committed to prioritizing success through trust at an enterprise level. The SAP Chief Trust Office focuses on building trust through cybersecurity, privacy, and compliance.

In episode five of The Trust Corner podcast, host Elena Kvochko, Chief Trust Officer for SAP, spoke with Michael Bondar, Enterprise Trust Leader at Deloitte, about how trust can help businesses grow and be successful.

The Value of Trust


Most would agree that trust is crucial in business. On the importance of trust Bondar stated, “Simply put, trust is one of the most important things in today's business world, especially today's business world.” Bondar’s team conducted research including longitudinal studies to really understand the impact trust has in business. Through this research Bondar’s team found that no matter the industry or geographical location, trust has a measurable impact on business outcomes.

Bondar explains “In financial performance, we saw highly trusted companies outperform low trust companies with up to four times amplification of market value.” Bondar added, “In brand protection, we saw organizations impacted by trust events fall anywhere from 26% to 74% behind their peers in value and their market cap fall by 20% to 56%. As it relates to customer loyalty, out of customers who highly trust the brand, 88% bought again from that brand and 62% buy almost exclusively from that brand.”

When to Prioritize Trust


When faced with a crisis, companies must react by taking steps to rebuild trust with their stakeholders. However, some companies are taking a more proactive approach to trust by establishing a Chief Trust Office or appointing trust leadership. So, what about companies that are already successful and meeting their current stakeholder goals? Can these companies benefit from making trust an organizational focus?

To illustrate the importance of trust, Bondar described a case of a major consumer products company that at the time was experiencing the best revenue and sales figures to date. While the company’s CEO acknowledged the importance of trust, he was reluctant to prioritize trust given the success the company was having. Bondar’s team convinced the CEO to allow their team to perform a trust diagnostic, which identified several trust-related issues. Bondar explained that “while the company was experiencing this phenomenal success and demand was at an all-time high, they also recognized that as we saw these issues unless they addressed these trust breakdowns, they would feel the repercussions coming out of this massive uptick in demand.”

Establishing Trust Leadership


It isn’t challenging for CEO’s and executives to understand the importance of trust. Bondar shares that when discussing trust with executives, “There’s consistently that initial agreement that trust is important.” The issue, according to Bondar, is that “in most cases organizations don’t necessarily have the infrastructure, the leadership, the management structures in place to take those meaningful steps to treat trust like any other strategic organizational asset or KPI.”

While there’s no one size fits all approach to trust, Bondar recommends having a dedicated executive that can take the initiative forward. Bondar explains, “In the corporate world, if everyone owns something, nobody really owns it. And similarly, trust certainly ultimately rolls up to the CEO, but just like any other topic, it requires focus, dedication, leadership, management consistency, and that cannot just sit with the CEO.”

The Future in Trust


Trust is important all the time, not just in times of incidents or crises. As trust continues to gain attention in the corporate world, organizations can take a proactive approach by recognizing that trust is a strategic priority that requires dedicated focus and leadership.

Listen to the full episode of the Trust Corner podcast with Michael Bondar here.

 

 
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