VW… Do ethics matter, and will they affect the employer brand?

A new report by the CIPD, based on a survey of 3,500 business leaders and 2,200 HR practitioners around the world, concluded the following:

  • Only 1 in 4 business leaders and HR practitioners said they are ‘always’ prepared to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term interests of people, organisations and society.
  • Three-quarters of business leaders describe employees’ ability to influence decisions that affect them as either ‘nice to have but not imperative’ or as ‘applying but can be compromised’.
  • 29% of business leaders and 34% of HR practitioners report they have to compromise their principles to meet current business needs.
  • Only 48% of business leaders and HR practitioners in the survey believe that their core values cannot be compromised whatever the context.
  • Perhaps most damagingly from an EVP perspective, 22% of business leaders and 21% of HR practitioners say they have to compromise on their principles because they affect their ability to succeed in their organisation.
  • And there’s clearly a disconnect between legal obligations and moral responsibilities, with 37% of business leaders (and 43% of HR practitioners) saying decisions by their company are justified as long as they follow the laws of the country, compared to 63% (57% of HR practitioners) who believe their organisation should take account of the moral responsibility it has for employees.

The CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese says: “The VW scandal is a stark reminder that organisations – particularly large and complex ones – need to think carefully about how they create organisational culture and how they increase the chance that people at all levels of the organisation will make ethically sound decisions”.