Over the past few years we’ve seen an enormous change in the political and social landscape. Topics like nationalism, immigration, discrimination and bias have become CEO-level issues, and business leaders have been pulled into the conversation.
Deloitte Consulting LLP’s newest research shows that today, whether you like it or not, every business decision you make (what to sell, who to sell it to, how to price and deliver your products, how to position your marketing) exists in an ecosystem of citizens, communities and political conversations. Consequently, if anything disruptive ever happens in your company (fraud, poor customer treatment, an accident), people can find out about it instantaneously, so it’s important to be aware of these potential issues and, in some cases, stake a clear position in the market.
Our conclusion from Deloitte’s “2018 Global Human Capital Trends” report, after a year of research and hundreds of conversations with business leaders, is two-pronged: People can help business leaders think about their companies as “social enterprises” — institutions that integrate and invest in the entire community — and also as businesses that operate in a holistic and integrated way. This is more than just being a “good” company; it often means stepping up to the responsibility people expect leaders to take.
As we found in our research, there are many HR issues on the table. HR can help CEOs and other leaders communicate and act in a “citizenship” way, including asking socially focused questions, the answers to which could have business implications. These include topics we all think about during our lives but that may not be top of mind for business leaders.
As more and more CEOs are realizing, customers, employees and shareholders expect organizations to do “what’s right.” There are now frequent examples of companies addressing social issues that lead to a specific business action.
What Deloitte has learned in our research and I’ve learned in my own career is that companies with strong value systems are more likely to endure and outperform their peers over time. I recommend thinking proactively about it now so you are prepared.
There are many pressures pushing people to be “more social” and “better citizens” at work: a more vocal and multigenerational workforce, the huge amount of sensitive data captured and the need to redesign careers. In today’s hot job market, where high performers can work almost anywhere they want, your employment brand is a key to success — and becoming more socially responsible can be one of the most effective strategies to achieving that success.