Readers’ Digest Canada recently conducted a poll that found the Canadian Armed Forces was the most trusted institution in the country, and the House of Commons the least trusted.
The former is not a surprise; the latter is a disappointment, heightened by the fact that four of the five least trusted people were politicians. Readers’ Digest interprets high trust as having confidence in those who stick to a job, do it well, and show passion.
The RCMP, which used to rate near the top in most surveys, has tumbled to near bottom in the past decade.
Our current and previous Governors General (David Johnson and Michaele Jean) are on the top ten most trusted public figures, along with Michael J Fox (#1), Peter Mansbridge, David Suzuki and Mike Holmes, the T.V. carpenter.
Most public servants don’t have the profile to get on the individual list. But we can still influence trust levels in institutions. Research from the Institute on Citizen Centred Service demonstrates that in the public service value chain, engaged employees provide superior service which fosters trust and confidence in their public institution. Other factors are perceptions on the value for money, the quality of leadership, environmental responsibility, and the treatment of employees, according to the Institute’s Nicholas Prychodko. Get those right, and trust and satisfaction go up.