Treat employees well to prove you’re a good business, say public


Treating employees well is ranked higher by the public than how companies treat customers or whether they give to charity according to a new survey carried out on behalf of Business in the Community. The research also found that though overall public attitudes to very large businesses are positive, but most workers feel their employer could do more for society with just 22% reporting they have felt proud about their current employer’s behaviour towards society.

Being a good employer which treats employees fairly and with respect is the most important sign that a business is responsible – ranking higher than activities traditionally associated with ethical business such as giving to charity according to research undertaken online by to mark the start of Responsible Business Week.

The poll of 2,174 online British adults, carried out by Ipsos MORI, to assess their views on business behavior, found that the perception of a company being a good employer has a significant impact on whether someone wants to work for a them. 92% of respondents said that, if they were in a situation where they had two identical job offers, whether the companies treated employees with respect would be an important part of their decision making.

Whether they treated customers well (90%) and whether they made safe and reliable products and services (89%) were the other leading criteria.

Overall, the survey found largely positive attitudes towards big businesses with six in ten adults (61%) saying they think big businesses, aside from paying taxes and providing jobs, makes a positive contribution to society. 70% of those in work say they would speak positively about their employer to others without being asked. But most workers still feel their employer could do more for society, with just 22% reporting they have felt proud about their current employer’s behaviour towards society.

Commenting on the findings, Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “It’s clear that the outdated idea of responsible business as being about giving cash or ad hoc CSR activity is over. While these things do have positive impacts, there is far more to being a good business then simple philanthropy and the public and employees know this. To be perceived as responsible a business must be authentic and have values that influence everything it does – from how it treats employees and uses natural resources to how it operates within the community and down their supply chains.

“This Responsible Business Week we urge employers to prioritise how they engage and communicate with their employees. Doing so will drive trust and pride in business and create a culture within businesses that encourages staff to do the right thing. It’s only by getting it right on the inside that we will see more businesses make a meaningful contribution to society.”

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