GUEST ESSAY: How preserving trust — in a tumultuous 2023 to come — can lead to success

By Enza Iannopollo

The 2020s are already tumultuous.

Related: The Holy Grail of ‘digital resiliency’

Individuals are experiencing everything from extraordinary political and social upheaval to war on the European continent to the reemergence of infectious diseases to extreme weather events.

Against this unsettling backdrop, citizens, consumers, employees, and partners will look to organizations that they trust for stability and positive long-term relationships.

Not every organization knows how to cultivate trust, however, or that it’s even possible to accomplish. As a result, in 2023, specific industries that normally experience healthy levels of trust will see major declines in trust that will take years to repair. Others will buck historical trends just to simply maintain their current trust levels.

Organizations should take into account the following predictions as they plot out the next steps of their trust journey in the year ahead:

•Trust in consumer technology will decline by 15 percent.

Over the past three years, technology has proven critical to consumers’ daily lives — from remote working and home-schooling to entertainment and e-commerce. Technology firms experienced unprecedented popularity because of this.

This honeymoon is coming to an end, however; expect to see trust in consumer technology companies declining by 15 percent in 2023. Regulatory crackdowns on poor privacy practices, continued supply chain issues, and ongoing challenges in retaining talent will all impact consumers’ sentiments negatively.

When consumers trust a brand less, they also lose trust in other businesses associated with it. This is the time for firms to map their value chain, assess trust fluctuation across their ecosystem, and be ready to act to safeguard trust.

•Half of firms will use AI for employee monitoring — battering employer trust.


Forrester finds that around the world, employees trust their employer more than their colleagues. For example, 60 percent of US employees trust their colleagues while 64 percent trust their employer. Expect this trend to invert by the end of 2023 as employers overstep their bounds with the use of AI to monitor work-from-home productivity.

For those that choose to collect personal information from employees to measure performance, the data is grim. In 2022, Forrester finds that 56 percent of employees whose employer collects their personal information to measure performance are likely to actively look for a new opportunity at a new organization in the next year — 14 percentage points higher than the average.

Firms seeking to lead in employee experience must eliminate outdated notions of “time spent” and instead focus on outcome-based performance measurement.

•Banks will lose consumer trust in a period of economic turmoil.

In 2022, consumer trust in banks fell for the first time in several years. Additionally, Forrester data reveals that only 54 percent of US consumers believe their bank exhibits the trait of empathy.

As the economy continues to flash warning signals, consumers’ ire and resentment toward their bank will make it even harder to earn trust. Because of this, trust will decline for most banks.

To maintain consumer trust in 2023, banks must lead with empathy and take a data-driven approach to earning trust with concrete, targeted steps that can help them navigate the cost-of-living crisis.

•People’s trust in government will increase in the US.

Trust falls when governments are no longer able to create a better future for their people. In 2023, the US will buck historical trends that saw trust shrinking by building on dependability as a core lever of trust, as well as by investing heavily in such other key trust levers as accountability, competency, and transparency. For example, President Biden’s Management Agenda is doubling down on the combined power of customer and employee experience.

•Three-quarters of Californians will have asked firms to stop selling their data by the end of 2023.

Privacy continues to be a critical consumer value. According to Forrester, 47 percent of Californian online adults have exercised their CCPA right to ask companies to stop selling their data, while 30 percent have asked companies to delete their data.

As the privacy discussion takes center stage in the US over the next 12 months — especially given the potential for new federal legislation and the enforcement of existing state-level legislation — consumers’ privacy activism will continue to grow.

Now is the time for organizations to shore up their privacy and data protection programs and require that all new products, services, and experiences are private by design.

Companies understand that trust will be critical in the next 12 months and more so than ever before. Companies must develop a deliberate strategy to ensure that they gain and safeguard trust with their customers, employees, and partners.

Measuring trust in their brands, engaging line-of-business owners and other leaders to identify key initiatives (with regional variations as necessary), and setting a realistic time frame are all fundamental steps that they must take to get started on this important journey.

About the essayist: Enza Iannopollo is a principal analyst on Forrester’s security and risk team and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/E). Her research focuses on compliance with data protection rules, privacy as a competitive differentiator, ethics, and risk management.

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