Walking The Talk: Do Your Actions Match Your Words?

PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. chairman Robert Moritz recently discussed the issue of engaging younger employees in an article for Harvard Business Review titled “The U.S. Chairman of PwC on Keeping Millennials Engaged.” While the article contains a number of intriguing insights, one point that stood out from a marketing perspective was a comment Moritz made in relation to how an organization and its leaders are perceived to reflect the stated values of that company.

“Millennials are quick to react negatively to any perceived disconnect between the firm’s words and its actions,” Moritz says. “If they don’t believe us, they leave. That’s a challenge for anyone in a managerial position, and social media have raised the stakes. I’m acutely aware that if I were to say something that appeared to conflict with PwC’s stated values, it could go viral, and my credibility would be shot.”

This is a really insightful observation from a top American executive. As younger generations increasingly expect more accountability from their organizations, those companies need to walk the walk. Additionally, younger workers are more likely to move between multiple companies throughout their careers. This means they are more likely to be looking for job opportunities, which means looking at companies and talking to their network about a company and its reputation.

While this is certainly a risk for companies and executives who may not practice what they preach when it comes to corporate values, there is also opportunity present in this trend for vocal employees and social media. Just as employees can expose a hypocritical corporation or management, they can also be advocates and mouthpieces for those companies who truly live up to and demonstrate their corporate values.

Given the greater transparency that social media and other forms of communication have on companies, managers and human resource departments should pay more than lip service to the idea that an employee or job applicant’s values should align with that of the organization. If the reality doesn’t match the portrayal, sooner or later the organization could struggle with its credibility among customers and employees alike.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement


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