In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the authenticity of commitments to social responsibility by companies is magnified.
And if the trend we previously identified at Out Leadership persists post-crisis, we believe consumers, employees and investors are taking note.
In any business, survival is optional and increasingly companies that cannot demonstrate that they have a social purpose are doomed to disappear. COVID-19 is both an opportunity and a challenge for corporations to showcase values that align with those of their stakeholders.
Yet some large companies are already failing to do this.
In the past few days, news outlets have highlighted questionable behavior by some companies in the private sector.
Yet others have understood the crisis is a time to highlight authentic social corporate responsibility behaviors. Some high profile examples:
Who do you think will ultimately win? Amazon – attempting once again to maximize its profit during a crisis – or LVMH in giving up short term gains for long term recognition?
My money is on LVMH.
Another aspect of the crisis linked to labor that is coming up is the difference of treatment between white-collar and blue-collar workers. Cashiers, factory and warehouse workers, delivery or truck drivers are starting to express discontent with what they perceive as injustice.
The majority of jobs in the US cannot be done from home. In an October 2019 Gallup survey, only 43% of Americans worked from home occasionally. That figure of 40% seems to be the average in most developed countries. It leaves most workers on the front lines of the epidemic: confined socially but forced to interact at work.
While blue-collar jobs are necessary to ensure that the daily life of the population can continue despite the confinement, companies ought to ensure the security of their employees, acknowledge and compensate them financially for the risk their employees are taking.
More than ever, in a world faced with the shock of the pandemic, it is crucial to restore and maintain trust between economic agents. Mistrust in institutions, whether it is Governments, Churches or the private sector was already costing companies in the pre-COVID-19 world, it might even become more so in the post-2020 World. This will require companies to maintain the momentum in showcasing their values.
Out Leadership will accompany and support our member companies on this journey.