Employee Engagement

Now, more than ever, companies need to know what they stand for

Steffi Maranan

If your business has a meaningful purpose and strong values, you’re far more likely to recover quickly from crisis.

This is the third article in our Survival of the Fittest series, about how to use Organisational Fitness to fight back against a crisis.

  1. Traits of organisations that survive a crisis
  2. What can we learn from companies who couldn’t cope with crisis?

Our data shows that organisations with a strong purpose are more resilient

Companies that had the highest scores for purpose and values were 10.8x more likely to be rated highly for customer NPS.

Amazingly, we also found a link between purpose and profitability. The highest-rated companies are 1.5x more likely to have the highest profits.

These are huge and tangible benefits for organisations, showing once again that it pays to know what you stand for and where you are going.


Employees will remember how they were treated when they were most vulnerable

If you’ve got strong values and you act on them, you’ll reap the benefits from loyal teams.

Sadly this is something that UK companies struggle with. We surveyed over 2000 organisations in the UK and found that less than half of employees felt that they had a meaningful purpose to work towards.

In fact, of the 16 indicators of Organisational Fitness that we measure at Qlearsite, ‘purpose and values’ was the lowest of all.


Customers resonate with brands who put their money where their mouth is

You need to know:

  • Why your organisation exists (purpose)
  • Who you are and what you stand for as an organisation (values)

During a crisis and where there is uncertainty, purpose and values give you clarity on which course of action to take.

Where there is divisiveness on an issue, especially if divided opinion exists in the customer base, taking a strong stand one way or the other can seem counter-intuitive. You might not want to take a strong stand and risk losing customers.



As we spoke about before, Nike did this to support Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. Nike went beyond performative allyship and showed genuine allegiance to Kaepernick. As a result of this divisive campaign, Nike gained $163 million in earned media, a $6 billion brand value increase, and a 31% boost in sales.


Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea is another great example of a brand who – subtly but effectively – asserted their values. On Twitter a user expressed delight that Yorkshire Tea wasn’t actively supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign.

I’m dead chuffed that Yorkshire Tea hasn’t supported BLM. 😁

Laura (@thisislaurat) June 6, 2020

The brand responded by asking the user to stop buying their tea.



They were clear on what their values were and didn’t want customers who didn’t believe in them.

Following on from the Black Lives Matter campaign, many organisations showed performative support such as posting actively on social media, however failed to put any real action behind messages they were putting out. People resonate with brands and organisations with strong values, who put genuine action behind belief.


Because your values are worth it. You’re judged by your actions, not what’s written on your walls



L’Oreal recently came under fire with their ‘performative’ stance on the Black Lives Matter campaign, where they shared photos supporting the movement.

However, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, alleged that L’Oreal had dropped her from a campaign in 2017 for speaking out against racism and white supremacy. Obviously this puts the brand’s true values into question.

They did take quite decisive action though. Munroe now sits on the diversity and inclusion advisory board for the brand.


Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is another example. The company was once known for their excellent customer service, and was even voted in the top 3 airlines in American passenger surveys.

However, when the company introduced cost-saving measures which reduced the corporate training budget and staff perks, things took a turn for the worse.

The quality of service dropped dramatically, and customers noticed. Over three years Delta went from being one of the best American airlines to bankruptcy.

The values of hospitality and great customer service were the foundations of the organisation, which customers loved. But when values were stripped away, customers voted with their feet.


Lead by example

Purpose and values are evidently very important to organisations no matter where they are in their journey.

These examples, along with our own research, shows that having a strong and meaningful purpose means your customers and employees are more loyal to your brand. Happy customers and happy staff make higher profits.


Ready to build a fitter organisation that can survive a crisis?

See how the Organisational Fitness Scan can help you.

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