We all like to start how we mean to go on, and I think one thing that all good business leaders will be doing this year is taking ownership of their communication.
2024 is going to be the year that CEOs realise how important it is for them to be visible and to communicate about what the company stands for. Increasingly we’re seeing that people take an organisation’s values into consideration when making purchasing decisions or when applying for jobs. In fact, 81% of Generation Z consider business commitment to reducing their impact on the environment when applying for jobs (Bright Network). Similarly 76% will stop buying from companies that treat the environment, employees or their community poorly (PWC).
It’s so important as a business leader to have a great understanding of what your organisation’s mission and values are, so that you can communicate these well. And I’m not just talking about performative social media posts. In fact, I think it’s much more important that as leaders we’re communicating our values with our team within our organisation. And of course with our customers.
As a small example, I value work-life harmony, where I’m able to support those within my business, but also have time and energy to spend with my kids. I live this value by having dedicated time when I don’t have my phone on me. I always communicate with my team, letting them know when I’ll be contactable, and also the reasons as well as times I won’t be. This not only gives me quality time with my family, but it also gives them permission to take a break with their loved ones, too.
Vision and values are a key factor in creating culture. I always argue that your organisation’s mission should be the compass that guides your culture. 2024 is the year that people are going to realise that culture can be the ultimate differentiating factor between your organisation and your competitors.
Culture is the glue that links employee experience, customer experience and brand experience. In the past, these elements have been seen as separate entities. But when you bring culture into the mix, you see that these elements actually have a big impact on each other. When your employees love their work, and believe in the mission of your organisation, your customers will have a better experience. In turn, others interacting with your brand – whether they’re potential customers, suppliers or future employees – will also have a better experience.
As an organisation, my company, The Happiness Index, is dedicated to being as sustainable as possible. We’re committed to this in a variety of ways, but in the short term, we’re working with a great organisation called Ecologi to carbon offset by planting trees. We communicate this commitment with our team by planting trees in their names at big milestones such as their work anniversaries. We also communicate this with our customers – over Christmas we planted trees in their names, too! In this way our value of sustainability becomes ingrained in our culture, and we communicate it with others within our ecosystem.
I really encourage you, as business leaders, to invest the time in 2024 to take your culture and brand data as seriously as you take your sales and customer data. Once you start to link these kinds of data to your PNL and start to evolve your reporting metrics so that data isn’t siloed, you’ll start to see how your culture affects not only your people, but also your P&L.