No one could have predicted what a rollercoaster 2020 would be.
The demands in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly pushed businesses’ resilience and agility to the limit.
But in the face of all these challenges and more, 2020 has also seen the best of British business as companies in all corners of the UK, protecting jobs and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their employees. They’ve also placed themselves at the service of the nation, stepping up to the national challenge to beat the virus, keeping food on our shelves, public services running and playing more active roles in their communities to support those most in need.
In partnership with Porter Novelli and Opinium Research, this year’s Everyone’s Business Reputation Tracker reveals how Businesses’ actions have influenced public perceptions of business in what has been a turbulent year for all. It also outlines the actions that need to be taken by business to maintain and build public trust as it seeks to build back better. The Tracker is split into three parts:
- Part 1: how the public thinks businesses have handled the pandemic, the interplay with business reputation and how business stepped up for the nation in its time of need
- Part 2: how working practices have been impacted by the pandemic, the steps employers have taken, and how these have been received by employees
- Part 3: businesses’ role in tackling social and environmental issues, and why business needs to reach out to an ‘unengaged middle’ as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights from the Everyone’s Business Reputation Tracker 2020:
- Through tough times, business has proven why it is a force for good. 54% of the public say business have handled the pandemic well, with the same percentage saying business reputation is positive. Only 9% say it has handled the pandemic poorly and reputation is poor
- Companies that put people first will be rewarded. Almost 3 in 4 workers say their relationship with their employer is positive. Good staff communication and feeling well supported by employers are the key drivers of a favourable attitude. There is however scope for firms to do more on mental health.
- Business cannot rest of its laurels as there continues to be nearly a third of people that view business reputation as ‘neither good nor poor’. Businesses need to engage with this “undecided middle”, in order to communicate the positive difference they make to people’s lives.
Practical steps business can take – whatever stage they are at:
Businesses know they have a key role to play in building a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable UK - and many are already in action. Capacity to execute this vision varies across the business community right now. But whether in ‘survival mode’ or ‘rebuilding mode’, there are steps that any business can take to maintain and build trust with their stakeholders.
- “Survival mode”: for firms in which commercial survival is the priority, focusing on good employer-employee relationships, including mental health and wellbeing, will matter. The basics of a good reputation also include good customer service and quality products and services.
- “Rebuilding mode”: firms that have bandwidth and resources to undertake ambitious programmes should consider making a positive difference to society and the environment, telling their story more loudly and finding ways to commit to building back better publicly.