Solving business issues and influencing societal agenda
For our Building Trust Programme in 2019, we worked on three areas. These include:
Engaging key stakeholder groups - corporates, influencers and the youth
Working with experts to enhance the Awards methodology
Broadening the trust conversation to startups
Since 2015, PwC Malaysia has been engaging various stakeholders on the importance of trust in business through the Building Trust Awards and the Trust Builders Challenge. Beyond the Awards and the Challenge, the wider Building Trust programme works to sustain the conversations by sharing our points of view on trust in business issues in the media.
We've continued to build on these discussions in 2018 and 2019, and have seen these conversations reflected across companies, the general public, the media, students, as well as a new segment, the startup community.
The first of its kind in Malaysia, the Building Trust Awards measures trust beyond the financials of the companies assessed. The Awards look at how top public-listed companies build trust with their stakeholders from two key perspectives; the company’s communication of value creation, and their trust perception among their internal (employees) and external (consumers, investors, analysts, the media, general public) stakeholders.
The root of our Awards can be traced to PwC’s Purpose: “To build trust in society and solve important problems.” The Awards act as a springboard for discussion by directing a focus on trust, a valuable asset for any organisation which is not only to be talked about, but measured.
We ran the Building Trust Awards in 2015, 2017 and recently in July 2019. We were pleased to welcome nine new companies to the 2019 BTA finalists pool of 20 - an indication of greater awareness and improvements in the quality of value creation stories being told through companies’ annual reports. Key outcomes from the 2019 Awards are listed in the call-out boxes on the right.
We had four independent judges on the panel this year, each from a different segment of society: a standard setter, a humanitarian, a media entrepreneur and a corporate leader. Their diverse experiences contributed to a robust and dynamic discussion at the judges’ meeting around the trust-building efforts displayed by the 20 finalists. One of the new judges had this to say about the Awards:
“As a leader, it’s interesting to see what factors are being taken into account, what makes people trust a certain company, what makes an employee trust you as an employer. So I went in viewing it as a learning experience and I certainly learnt much in my role as a judge.”
The Trust Builders Challenge is a platform for Malaysian university students to present their views on trust, based on a trust crisis involving a hypothetical business.
We are proud to note the increase of public university participation over the last two years. The overall decline in participation from 2017 was due to the change in requirements where teams had to submit a video to qualify for the challenge.
Since its inception in 2017, we have seen an increase in students’ understanding of why trust matters in business after joining the Challenge.
What the participants and mentors have to say about the Challenge:
The challenge provided me with key insights into the core foundation of any business - trust. Though intangible, trust is imperative in its role in governing business transactions and relationships.
To all those who want to apply (to the Challenge), take extra initiative not just to focus in the classroom or on your books, but also to get close to the industry and practitioners as you enter the workforce.
Leadership, in the eyes of employees, shapes the foundation for trust between business and society. We felt it was important to incorporate leadership trust as another dimension to measure trust perception in our Awards methodology.
For BTA 2019, we set out to recognise exemplary leadership that drives an organisational culture rooted in trust. In collaboration with The Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre (Iclif), we conducted a survey with the employees of our finalist companies to gather their thoughts on the company’s leadership culture.
“This year, we added Leadership Trust, which has become increasingly important. People talk about tone at the top, but it’s also the message in the middle and belief at the bottom. And what this comes to is: ‘Can companies set culture to deliver its strategy and bring everybody with it?’”
“PwC’s efforts to engage startups on trust is genuine. They are not only getting direct insights from those building trust in today’s new economy, but also working hand-in-hand on the ground with a selected few startups on an executional level.”
Startups are a fast growing segment in the local business landscape. Trust is clearly important for startups, but is it a priority? Given the nature of startups as early-stage businesses, this may not be something they can ‘afford’ to focus on. Other concerns, such as operations and profitability, may take precedence.
We engaged the startup community in a fireside chat on the importance of trust during the early stages of a business. The event, held on 30 January 2019, attracted various players from the startup ecosystem including startups, venture builders, investors and accelerators. We used findings from a baseline survey with startups to drive the discussion, and did a post-event survey to gauge how their views changed after the event. One of the key findings shifted post event:
Our goal to amplify the dialogue on the importance of trust in business doesn’t just start or end with our Awards. In the coming year, we will continue to engage stakeholders from within and outside Corporate Malaysia, sustaining the conversation on trust.