THE BLOG
27/05/2014 07:43 BST | Updated 23/07/2014 06:59 BST

One Simple Way to Regain Trust

Public confidence in business isn't always that high. It's not surprising with the endless news of corporate scandals.

The Edelman Trust Barometer survey measures public trust in business and government, and this year it found that 56 per cent of Britons trust in business. Not bad, but could be better. And of course it varies from sector to sector - somewhat unsurprisingly, banks and energy companies are trusted by a mere 32 per cent of Britons.

So what can businesses do to win back trust?

The first step is to help disadvantaged groups of people, says Katja Hall from CBI.

She was recently appointed deputy director-general at the organisation and is asking for employers to do more for young people, women and minority groups.

'It's absolutely critical that we take action to win back the public's confidence,' she told the Financial Times.

It certainly sounds good, but how far are businesses willing to go? New stats show that 975,000 young people weren't in education, employment or training in the first quarter of 2014. Sure, this is better than last year when it topped a million. But there are still 975,000 people who desperately need employers to step up and give them a chance. Without their help, I fear we'll have a lost generation of talent.

Give young people meaningful experience

Some companies are already doing a great job at this. They provide young people with apprenticeships, internships and other opportunities to gain meaningful experience.

Other businesses would do well to follow suit. As research from the National Apprenticeship Service shows, 80 per cent of people are more likely to use a business if it employs young people as apprentices. In the long run, it not only helps young people, but the bottom line.

So how does this translate into trust?

The Edelman Trust Barometer found that 84 per cent of those surveyed think business can pursue its self-interest whilst doing good work for society. Giving young people a chance is a crucial part of doing good, and helps build trust externally and internally.

It obviously isn't the only way to achieve this; Edelman also flagged some other key components of fostering trust, like open and honest communication. However, each bit helps and adds up to better perceptions.