This blog is about the relationship between organizations and the people who work for them and the communities they operate in. And, it’s dedicated to the 100s of millions of people around the world who go to work every day wanting to do a great job.

Getting believable

The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2011 is sobering reading as it has been for the past couple of years.  Trust is down virtually everywhere.  Again!

Buried near the end of the 2011 report is a slide that reads:  “Repetition enhances believability”.

Now, the barometer is all about organizations and trust [external], but it reminded me how often I’ve ended up in conversations where the theme has been something like:  “Well I told them last quarter…”  “We published it in the employee newsletter last spring…”  “We had a town hall …”  “The e-mail went last week…”  “Why don’t they get it?”

Are there any lessons here?

It’s easy inside organizations to assume that because we’ve said it once everybody not only gets it they believe it.  I’m guessing that the same rules that apply outside apply in – the more we repeat, the more channels we use, the more different ways we find to say it the higher the likelihood that employees will not only hear it but will believe it.

And it’s easy inside organizations to assume that because we’ve done one employee survey we really get it.  What’s interesting is that if being believable when you’re sending means you need to repeat it then maybe we need to be more aware when we’re on receive too!

Are we dismissing things we’ve only seen or heard once or twice from employees in formal surveys?  How much opportunity are we giving to employees to express themselves repeatedly and through multiple channels?  And if we are, how often are we pulling their feedback together in a meaningful way?

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