How Protest & Social Issues Impact Your Bottom Line

Last night many celebrities and everyday individuals came out in a stand of unity against a cause they feel is near and dear to their hearts. This is not a commentary to make the case to stand with these causes or not. This blog is a resource for CEOs, Business Leaders and Executives that are waking up this morning to ask themselves the question 'How does this impact our business & what adjustments, if any, do we need to make?"

This is a very valid and timely question.

History has shown us that when major social changes occur within our society how an organization responds can be the difference between positioning yourself for mass trajectory or accepting sudden defeat. 

The readers of this blog never agree with the latter.

However, navigating the waters of highly sensitive social issues along with operating a business is not an easy task. The core ingredient in your organization are the people, that faithfully come to work each day, to perform the tasks in front of them. These same individuals have their own views, opinions and beliefs that make up the core of who they are.

I would be naive to say that the days of having civil conversations that end with respect for the other person and walking away with a 'agree to disagree' point of view still fully remain. If this past year, both in the US and abroad, have taught us anything it is that these type of healthy debates are few and far in between.

So how do manage this change within your teams? What safeguards can you put into place to protect your company from being on the receiving in of these protests.

Bottom line? Keep your finger on the pulse.

Everyday business leaders are faced with the unending tasks of:

  • Ensuring new clients are acquired
  • Operations run smoothly
  • Cash flow remains in the positive
  • Employees are satisfied with their role

Don't forget about the goal of cleaning out your inbox from the 500 plus emails you receive each day. To add to this list of duties the assignment of knowing the pulse (employee satisfactions) of your organization can feel like a up hill battle.

Photo Courtesy of: Forbes "How Smart CEOs Use Employee Engagement Surveys" 2016

Photo Courtesy of: Forbes "How Smart CEOs Use Employee Engagement Surveys" 2016

An article from Forbes confirmed CEO's worst concerns are a reality in the organizations surveyed. The survey found that employees understood the priority to bring problem solving solutions to the table. The employees also expressed their feedback that these ideas are not fully rewarded.

An employee that feels their ideas, those that prove to be a value add for the organization and have a ROI, are not rewarded or heard begins to loose interest in investing their full potential into their position.

"When employees retract their skills and only show up to do the minimum required for their role, this is where problems escalate."

What we have found when performing employee surveys and designing teams along with infrastructure for some of the top companies within the Financial Services Industry and the Information Technology space, is that the problem started before the employee had this experience.

Leaders that get lost in completing the tasks vs. rewarding the people trigger employee upset that leads to reduction in staff and lost of customers. 

Keeping your finger on the pulse is to acknowledge that there is a problem, before their is a problem. Allow me to explain. Employees are often aware of reoccurring issues before executives are. How can you keep this from happening? There isn't a 100% fail-safe plan, something will come up that needs to be addressed. There are however three items that you can put into place that will assist in knowing if there is an problem before their is a problem.

  • Keep an open door policy & set the rules - Encouraging employees to speak to an executive, not just their immediate manager, when they feel an issue needs to be addressed is vital. To support this and ensure the time is productive the culture (rules) of the organization need to be clear.  Do your employees know what the vision for your company is? What are your viewpoints on what it takes to be a successful leader & do they see that in you (along with your team)? Are rules bent in the favor of one employee vs. others? Asking these questions of your employees will tell you how close the team is to understanding the company culture or how far the gap is.


  • Take Action- What does taking action to rectify employee relations issues look like at your company? Do you have a HR manager on site? How about a crisis management expert on retainer to assist in times of need? Taking effective action goes beyond keeping the open door policy. Taking action is the glue that holds the company culture together.


  • Be Present- Leaders don't lead from the office, their in the trenches with their teams. Being present within your organization today cannot be limited to quarterly pot lucks or a monthly newsletter. Employees are consumers that are demanding more from the companies they do business with and who they work for. To be fully present in your company will mean delegating more, engaging within employees in routine productive ways as well as holding those accountable when you discover the jobs aren't being done correctly.

If after reading this you have more questions on how to safeguard your organization from the pitfalls that Fortune 100 household name companies are going through, schedule a consultation with our office here.

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