These last few weeks we have all lived the consequences of low trust in government and media. We have observed that large groups of people have ignored critical health guidance, in part because they doubted the veracity of available information or because they relied on disinformation. At the same time, a number of businesses have stepped into the void with responsible actions and information from credible sources, including scientists and public health authorities, knowing that their employees expect frequent updates and agile changes to workplace policies.
In this special report on COVID-19, Edelman conducted a 10-country study between March 6-10 in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. Their findings include:
- The Most Credible Source Is Employer Communications — Sixty-three percent said that they would believe information from [their employer] after one or two exposures, versus 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media.
- The Need for Frequency — Seven in 10 respondents are following coronavirus news in media at least once a day; 33% are checking several times a day. Employers are expected to update information regularly on COVID-19, with 63% asking for daily updates, 20% wanting communications several times a day.
- The Most Trusted Spokespeople — Government officials and journalists are at the bottom of the rank, at under 50% trust. The CEO of “my employer” is at 54%, squarely in the middle of the ranking. Eighty-five percent of respondents said that they want to hear more from scientists and less from politicians.
- My Employer Better Prepared Than My Country — In eight of 10 countries surveyed, “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than my country. This finding is confirmed by the high trust in “my employer” to respond effectively and responsibly (62 percent) to the virus.