Earlier we wrote a blogpost on the importance of trust in companies and organisations. We underlined the fact that building trustworthiness is a longterm process. But how attentive the company’s trustworthiness is built, a crisis can throw all of the carefully build up trust away. How do you deal with such a crisis as a company?
No matter how good a company’s reputation is, a crisis can always happen, for example because of employer’s deeds or external factors. There are all kinds of crises. While an example as the Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal is an extreme version, small crises can also influence the trustworthiness of a company.
Restore faith in a company
Building trustworthiness is a long term strategy. Rebuilding trust after a crisis, will possibly take even longer. Good communication and decisive actions are important to show the outside world that you, as a company, are handling the situation and moving forward.
Before you can start working on repairing trust in your company, it is important that every person involved (e.g. employees) is aware of the fact that certain processes within the company have to change. Anyone, from the board to the store staff, must be convinced of this. A company cannot be trusted by its customers when even the employees don’t.
There is no easy trick to win back the lost trust. Companies and organisations must therefore build the trust from the ground back up, after it has been damaged. The goal is not be found trustworthy again, but to be trustworthy again. It is something that needs to be established from inside of the company. The customers will then automatically follow.
Who really has the intention to change, must set new targets. What does the company want to get across? What does the company stand for? These are examples of questions a company should ask itself in order to move forward. It is about forming a new identity and the accompanying mission.
Setting new targets is good, but will not work unlessthese targets are communicated towards the outside world (e.g. the customers). Showing them that action is being taken, is an important condition of repairing trust. Leaders play a big part in this as well. They can take the lead and motivate the employees to work on and move down the new path together.
After the new targets are set, it is time to actually execute the plans that have been made. When communicating to the outside world that everything has changed, it really has to be. When your vision and targets are not in line with the behaviour of the company and its employees, there is a big change the new policy will fail and the amount of trust in the company will decrease even more.
Consistency is another crucial factor in repairing trustworthiness of the company and therefore the restoration of trust in the company. Doing something good is good, but doing good things consistently is better. The trust people put in a company can only really start to grow when they have faith in the fact they can trust the company again.
Integrity is a concept that is interlaced with trustworthiness. Integrity is about honesty and trustworthiness. To be found trustworthy is not something you can create; it is often described as an intrinsic process. It has to come from the inside out. The same goes for a company.
In order for a company to be trustworthy, every single layer of the company structure has to be trustworthy, no exceptions. That is why it is so important to have everyone in your company on the same page when it comes to the importance of trustworthiness.