The latest business reputation survey ‘Everyone’s Business’ by the CBI, in collaboration with Porter Novelli and Opinium, has found over three quarters of people (76 per cent) want to work for firms with a good reputation.
Encouragingly, the reputation of business has improved since the last wave of the tracker in September 2018. Last year a series of events and scandals in the business community had a chilling effect on business reputation, but 2019 has seen this reputational chill start to thaw, with a four point rise in those thinking business reputation is good (60 per cent).
As a result, the public is increasingly aware of the role of business as a force for good in society (59 per cent). However, with just over two in five (42 per cent) believing that businesses are working to improve people’s lives in their local areas, there is a clear opportunity for businesses to amplify the good they do in their communities by creating jobs and supporting public services.
A total of 76 per cent of UK adults are choosing who to interact with based on reputation, using purchasing power to send a message to businesses. In fact, they are less likely to buy the products or services of a company with a bad reputation (79 per cent). Aside from treating employees well (61 per cent), a greater focus on gender pay (40 per cent) and the environment (38 per cent) can go a long way to restoring a business’s reputation.
“Businesses know that their reputation is their lifeblood,” said Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general. “After another difficult year for firms, it’s great to see evidence that their hard work to support employees and keep the UK growing is recognised by the public. Our latest tracker shows an uptick in its reputation from last year. The focus on giving employees a stronger voice whether through employee share ownership or other such schemes, is being well received by the public.
“There is no question that more can be done, as 76 per cent of the public say they would want to work for a business with a good reputation, the benefits of demonstrating firms positive impact can affect everything from a company’s bottom line to the talent it attracts,” he added. “Employees are key. They are a company’s ambassadors and the public trust their voices and seek them out. So great firms are doing all they can to engage them and help them tell on the ground stories. This starts with championing social causes that they feel are important, from closing the gender pay gap to reducing their carbon footprint.”
Commenting on the research, Eleanor Turner, director of corporate reputation and purpose, at Porter Novelli London, said: “At this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for business to recognise the link between purpose and reputation, trust and customer loyalty. This year’s tracker provides examples of companies that have ‘baked’ purpose into their business, putting it at the top of the boardroom agenda and consequently reaped the rewards.
“Importantly, it also highlights the value consumers place on employee wellbeing, plus the role of the employee in being advocates of purpose and influencing whether their employer is perceived as ‘walking the talk’. Business leaders therefore need to ensure they not only find their purpose, but also truly live it.”