According to the latest business reputation survey “Everyone’s Business” by the CBI, in collaboration with Porter Novelli and Opinium, three-quarters of people want to work for firms with a good reputation.

Although a series of events and scandals had a chilling effect on business reputation last year, the CBI noted that things have improved in 2019, with a four point rise in those thinking business reputation is good (60%).

CBI Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie said: “Businesses know that their reputation is their lifeblood. After another difficult year for firms, it’s great to see evidence that their hard work to support employees and keep the UK growing is recognised by the public. Our latest tracker shows an uptick in its reputation from last year”.

In particular, he went on, the focus on giving employees a stronger voice through employee share ownership and other such schemes is being well received by the public.

Less than half of those questioned (42%) said that they believed that businesses are working to improve people’s lives in their local areas, so the CBI sees a clear opportunity for firms to amplify the good they do in their communities by creating jobs and supporting public services.

“Employees are key,” Mr Hardie suggested. “They are a company’s ambassadors and the public trust their voices and seek them out. So great firms are doing all they can to engage them and help them tell on the ground stories. This starts with championing social causes that they feel are important, from closing the gender pay gap to reducing their carbon footprint.”

The survey also found that people are more inclined to trust information from other customers (46%) and that shared by company employees (35%) rather than the companies themselves (28%).

Looking forward, the public is keen for businesses to focus their efforts on the basics such as continuing to offer training and development (53%), as well focusing on health and wellbeing (49%).

Comment from Alan Price, CEO and HR expert at BrightHR

Creating a positive image is a powerful tool for organisations when it comes to attracting and retaining skilled staff. Those who actively embrace national and local charitable initiatives can instil a sense of pride and self-worth among their employees, who are likely to be more positive and productive as a result.

Smaller employers may argue that they do not have the time or resources to invest in designated charitable initiatives, especially when compared to larger organisations with dedicated events management departments.

However, simply arranging casual Fridays or company “bake-offs” in aid of charity can prove sufficient in cultivating a positive company reputation in the eyes of their existing employees.

Last reviewed 6 September 2019