A new flavor of corporate responsibility
Doing the right thing isn’t always top priority when it comes to business. With various stakeholders to appease, products to launch and campaigns to run, trying to be a good person in the midst of team meetings and struggling to meet a sales quota are common work activities that may not lend themselves to bettering yourself as a person.
Barclays, a global financial services provider, aims to put humanity back into the workplace by coming up with a new experimental bonus structure. One factor that will determine executive bonuses is their proof of being a good citizen.
Barclays: scoring employees’ “citizenship”
Barclays was under recent fire this past June for rigging interest rates. In August, Antony Jenkins was named new chief executive and made it his mission to change the image of the company from deceptive to more humanitarian. Jenkins plans to administer bonuses based on a score card which will include a “citizenship component,” as well as reducing predecessor Bob Diamond’s goal of achieving a 13 percent return on equity to anything above Barclay’s 11.5 percent cost of equity. Other initiatives include continuing to dedicate 10 million pounds to establish savings and loan businesses in Third World villages and doing away with advising clients on ways to evade taxes regardless of financial return.
Social responsibility in business is often overlooked as executives scramble to provide quick ROI, reach their quarterly projections and continue to be profitable. But when success is measured solely in numbers and sales are the only actions that result in a reward, it causes tunnel vision and makes staff members likely to push virtues to the wayside and make reckless decisions all in the name of goal attainment.
Taking control of their own reputation from within
Awarding bonuses based on an executive’s exhibition of humanitarianism and actions that will reflect favorably on the company won’t change the Barclays image overnight, but it’s a great way to build citizenship into the conversation and focus on the company as a whole rather than compartmentalizing everything into a sales deal.
Numbers will continue to be important in business – that will never change. But if your company has a bad reputation and is perceived to be untrustworthy, even the best salesperson won’t be able to save the business from plummeting out of favor.