Last week an article was on the ABC news website about Rio Tinto and community trust. While I’m far from across the details of the scenario, and don’t think there is enough information for me to comment on the specifics mentioned in the article, it prompted me to want to write about community trust.
In many fields of work, the issue of community trust is becoming more and more important. (Don’t assume that the importance of community trust is limited to potentially high-impact activities such as mining.) Communities have a lot of ability to organise and respond these days. This means having a clear means of working within not only the legal framework of a country or location, but also the local culture. To have the trust of a community, you need to be working with that community.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria mentions that ‘engagement‘ can be:
- Empowered Action
While that is not exhaustive by any means, it does provide a basic framework where people (and that could include companies, consultants and government) can start to think about what is needed to build a good relationship with a community.
It may be unlikely that a small business needs a major program to assist with community trust. Perhaps even doing something ‘small’ such as donating time or money a local charity of your choice can be considered.
Community trust and where you operate is a huge topic – but start with where you work, or businesses you frequent.
Do you know what they do to support their community? Do you see them building rapport with neighboring businesses? Have you ever worked somewhere that lost the trust of a community and they had to regain it?