Reputation Repair


Reputation mandate. The new CEO of Barclays made it clear to employees at the beginning of the year what it would now take to repair the bank's reputation and equally clear about what they did not want. The new CEO pointedly said in his memo to 140,000 employees that things were going to be different now and employees should know that..."The rules have changed. You won't feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won't feel comfortable with you as colleagues." Anthony Jenkins took over from CEO Robert Diamond who resigned when news broke out about Libor manipulation or rate-rigging.

Jenkins believes that the prior regime put short-term profits ahead of values.  Now that he was in charge, people have to commit to their reputation restoration program or hand in their IDs. Their program is called the TRANSFORM program and is based on living their values to restore Barclay's reputation, not just to restore their bottom line. As part of their rebuild, all employees viewed a film of the bank's history ("Made by Barclays"). Their new values and purpose, developed by their senior leadership group and Executive Committee along with many others, were also unveiled. Their Purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions "in the right way." Their five values are Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship. As this new program rolls out, people will be measured and rewarded according to these values. Sounds good. Ambitious. Doable. Will be watching.

Reputation restoration takes time

Although I made a wholehearted attempt not to work on Sunday, I could not pass up musing on an article I read on Walmart's new partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund and a few stats on reputation recovery. Thought I could post it today. When companies ask how long it takes to recover and restore reputation, I usually say four years, give or take.  Back in 2005, Walmart's then CEO Lee Scott decided to behave differently and reclaim its reputation. It had a lot of work to do, certainly in the public's mind. One of the ways Scott decided to do that was by reducing its environmental footprint. Fast forward to 2012 (seven years later). In the article, it says that,  "About a quarter of Americans now have a favorable impression of Wal-Mart, about double the percentage that did in 2007 (the earliest available figure for Wal-Mart), according to the YouGov BrandIndex, which measures consumers’ impressions of companies and products." I think that it has been a steady build from 2005 and seven years later, Walmart is seeing the fruits of its reputation labor. [I am not sure why The New York Times refers to Walmart as Wal-Mart but it does. I checked the website and Walmart changed its name to Walmart, no dash and small M, a while ago. ]