Holmes Report 18 Dec 2016 // 10:55AM GMT
Americans’ desire for corporate engagement in political and social issues is not just an expressed preference, but an expectation. In fact, 84% of Americans believe that businesses have a responsibility to bring social change on important issues, just behind the President (89%) and Congress (92%), according to the fourth annual Business & Politics: Do They Mix? Study from Global Strategy Group.
The study also found that 81% of Americans believe corporations should take action to address important issues facing society; and 88% believe corporations have the power to influence social change.
“Even as we see disenchantment with Washington and big business at all-time highs, individual companies have an opportunity to challenge the existing narrative and distinguish themselves,” says Julie Hootkin, executive vice president and co-lead of GSG’s corporate impact practice. “In this heightened issue environment, Americans are not only increasingly supportive of corporate positions on a range of issues, but believe companies can drive change and have a real impact on key issues of the day.”
The study found that 8 in 10 Americans support corporate positions on pay equity; nearly 8 in 10 on race relations (77%); 63% on immigration reform; 59% on LGBT equality; and 54% on transgender issues. Likewise, the public is looking for real time engagement on issues in the public eye. 51%--and 62% of Millennials—believe companies should respond by taking action/a stand within 72 hours of a current event.
The public also acknowledges that, for corporations, taking a public political stance can have a social—and financial—impact: 79% of Americans agreed that corporations can succeed at business while also taking a stance on an important issue, and 72% believe taking a stance on important issues can help a company’s bottom line.
“There is no longer a disconnect—at least in the public mindset—between driving profit and doing ‘good,’” said Tanya Meck, partner, MD, and co-lead, GSG corporate impact. “This has incredible implications for companies’ CSR programs.”
The report also explored the values that Americans—and Millennials specifically—place on working for companies that are politically and socially engaged. 8 in 10 Americans (83%) and nearly 9 in 10 Millennials (88%) believe that working for a company whose corporate values reflect their own is on par with other corporate benefits such as flexible work policies – and ahead of perks such as snack carts, meditation centers and game rooms.
Millennials are also more likely to seek out information on corporate stances. Nearly one-third of Millennials (31%) actively seek knowledge of what companies are doing.