Trust is the key currency in future business success…and failure
The way the public responded to repeated lockdowns serves as proof-of-concept that more flexible ways of business are possible. But to work effectively, any new social contract must be based on mutual trust.
A former colleague of mine, Anthony Painter, is now Chief Research & Impact Officer and the RSA. He wrote a very thought-provoking post this week arguing that we should learn more from what went right during the pandemic than what went wrong. Anthony highlights that, as a collective, we rose to the challenge and, by and large, did what was necessary and asked of us during this time. Anthony challenges us to think about what we could achieve if we can channel the community and solidarity we have experienced during the pandemic into future projects.
This struck a chord with me. Ultimately, I believe people are clever and sophisticated and can be allowed to make decisions based on complex but well-presented information. And this trust between governments and their publics, and employers and their staff will be critical to the success of the ‘New Collectivism’.
Unstoppable momentum towards more inclusive, sustainable business
New Collectivism describes a world where business is more inclusive, sustainable, and stakeholder-led, and not focussed solely on the traditional core goal of simply making a profit. While some may clamour to get back the pre-pandemic social contract – and I have seen a number of firms pushing for 100% office presenteeism once it’s practically possible – the reality is that the dye has been cast for a new world.
As Jamie Mitchell, founder of business mentoring company All Together, said at Grayling’s recent webinar into the New Collectivism, that we appear to be coming out of the pandemic with a consensus to strive for better business. Grayling’s own research* backs up this argument, with more than two-thirds of senior leaders at large companies agreeing that businesses have a collective responsibility to the societies in which they operate.
New Collectivism makes more economic sense too, often the strongest argument with which to persuade CEOs to change tack. The companies that are most inclusive, sustainable and stakeholder-led will be the ones that attract the best talent, the most diversity and will – ultimately – be the most successful.
Crucially, these will be businesses based on trust; trusting their employees to work effectively remotely, while their employees will trust them to give them equal opportunities and other benefits in exchange for their labour and loyalty, in a way that safeguards their welfare and that of the planet too.
Read Grayling’s New Collectivism report here and if you recognise challenges in this post that you need help to address, please contact me. We provide a wide range of expert communications services across Europe, including public affairs, public relations and digital communications.
*Study conducted of 500 senior business decision makers in international businesses across micro (1-9 employees, small (10-49 employees), medium (50-249 employees) and large corporations (250+ employees). Field study conducted 3-8 Feb 2021 by Opinium Research.
Written by Tom Nutt, Head of Corporate, UK & Europe (Tom.Nutt@grayling.com)