Working conditions and employee rights have an impact on an organisation’s brand

Following a recent survey, the Reputation Institute has ranked the reputation of a number of large UK retailers, including big name brands such as Ikea and Waitrose.  The survey demonstrates that factors such as working conditions and the treatment of employee can have a significant impact on the way an organisation is perceived by the public.

Online retailer Amazon came top in the ranking, scoring highly for service, innovation, leadership and performance. Boots and John Lewis finished second and third respectively, with many of the higher ranking organisations benefiting from a ‘commitment to high ethical standards’.  Sports Direct finished bottom, being declared the UK’s ‘least reputable retailer’.

Stephan Hahn-Griffiths of the Reputation Institute feels there is “a clear link” between reputation and profits. Talking about Sports Directs’ failings, he said that recent news stories over working conditions has meant their “overall reputation has tumbled in the past year, alongside their profits”.

In light of this, organisations should be conscious that the way in which they treat staff can influence public opinion and that poor working conditions could ultimately be damaging for business. This is demonstrated by the recent naming and shaming by the HMRC of organisations failing to pay their staff the national minimum wage, which regularly results in substantial negative media coverage.

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