What is the value of a good reputation?  According to a new Cone Communications study, 76% of people in the US would refuse to purchase a product if they found out a company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.  More importantly, they believed companies should be responsible stewards of their resources.  For instance, 94% felt it was important to be a good employer and 90% felt that organizations should operate in a way that protects and benefits society.

This helps to quantify reputational risk – the risk that customer won’t want to be associated with your company if they don’t believe it’s a good one.  Another survey highlights exactly what people think is damaging to a company’s reputation.  And while directly harming a customer is still at the top of the charts for reputational damage, there are plenty of reputation destroyers that don’t directly involve the customer at all.  Here are three things that customers don’t want to see from companies they buy from.

Intentional wrongdoing by company leaders

This was tied with lying about a product, with 80% of surveyed customers saying it is “very or extremely damaging” to a company’s reputation.  As we’ve discussed before, it can be difficult to properly investigate illegal acts by senior executives at many companies.  Bad faith at the top of a company can take years to recover from, however, it’s important to have a process that protects the company from bad actions of all of its employees.

Unfair workplace conditions and culture

The time when companies could assume that customers mostly cared about the final product is over.  Sixty-four percent of respondents felt that unfair workplace conditions and culture had a very or extremely negative impact on a company’s reputation.  Not only will a toxic culture ruin productivity, if information about that toxic culture leaks out, it will have an impact on sales.  If that toxicity becomes newsworthy, it will have a major impact on the company’s long term value.

Workplace discrimination

A discriminatory work environment is more than just a legal liability – it can hit top-line sales, too.  In fact, 62% of people felt that a discriminatory environment is very or extremely damaging to a company’s reputation.  While it’s impossible to completely eliminate discriminatory actions in a large company, it’s not impossible to have strong processes in place to encourage and protect whistleblowers and to thoroughly investigate complaints and take action when warranted.

To learn how CMTS:HR can help your company handle HR investigations without fear or favor, call us at 919.600.5102 or email us at Team_CMTS@WingSwept.com.