Insigniam, an international management consulting firm, has come forward with analysis of the recent spate of high-profile resignations, their potential underlying causes, its effect on employee expectations and professional recommendations for companies facing the same issues.
Both Greg Smith and James Whittaker left their former companies with a perception of a negative change in leadership focus. Smith branded Goldman Sachs as a toxic environment without clients best interests in mind, and Whittaker called Google an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.
If we look beyond the very public Goldman Sachs and Google resignations, we are witnessing a sea change in employee expectations, says Insigniam co-founding partner Shideh Bina. Employees today no longer come to work just for the paycheck they have come to expect that their work will connect to some form of greater meaning, and that they should be able to match their company’s purpose and values to their own.
A big contributor to this change in expectations is the amount of time and effort invested by most companies in the last 20 years to engage their employees commitment to an aspiring vision and corporate values. In a 2005 study of Fortune 500 companies, more than half of the companies had a statement that described their vision, mission or purpose.*
Yet when many of these same companies that touted inspiring vision and values are faced with some kind of threat, such as the seismic economic changes that began in 2008, without tight discipline these principles are abandoned. This shift away from high internal values to protecting the bottom line at any cost shows a need for companies to reevaluate their corporate cultures and refocus leadership on investing in a culture that gives back to employees and clients alike.
As executives, we must be responsible for what we have bred, says Bina. If we enjoy and thrive from the fruits of an emotionally engaged workforce, and are held in high regard by our customers for the values that we are perceived to uphold, then we also have to bear the responsibility that staying true to values and on course for mission are now principles in the latest version of the employee-employer contract and fulfill our end of that contract for our employees.
For more information on Insigniam’s approach to cultural transformation, please click here.
*A Study of the 2005 Fortune 500 Vision Statements by Bart Kasowski and Louis Jacques Filion
Insigniam is an international management consulting firm serving large-cap firms in multiple industry segments including pharmaceutical, healthcare, consumer goods, transportation, banking, and finance. Since 1985, Insigniam’s proven approach to enterprise transformation, elevating leadership performance, shifting culture and creating speed-to-results for the C-Suite has generated $ 9 billion in client business results.