Australia’s corporate brands value marriage equality

Corporate values have the potential to shape the judgments and actions of employees, and can play an important role in regulating behaviours.

Furthermore, the Great Place to Work® research shows that a strong values-driven culture is critical to the success of high performance organisations: 97% of the UK’s 2014 Top 100 Best Workplaces have values statements and put their values at the heart of everything they do.

Similarly, the companies that scored the best in Glassdoor‘s Top 25 Companies for Culture and Values (see below) were those with stated values that are internally and externally congruent.

Top 25 Countries for Culture and Values

1. Twitter6. Southwest Airlines11. Intuit16. Nike21. P&G
2. Edelman7. Chick-fill-A12. Wegmans17. Walt Disney Company22. REI
3. Google8. National Instruments13. CDW18. USAA23. Discover
4. Riverbed Technology9. Chevron14. Genentech19. Citrix24. Progressive
5. Facebook10. HEB15. Apple20. Adobe25. NetApp

In The Value of Corporate Culture (2013), University of Chicago academics analysed the stated values of the entire S&P 500. After aggregating the data, they categorised the most recurring values into nine clusters:

  1. Integrity + Ethics + Accountability + Trust + Honesty + Responsibility + Fairness + Do the right thing + Transparency + Ownership

    1. Teamwork + Collaboration/Cooperation

    2. Innovation + Creativity + Excellence + Improvement + Passion + Pride + Leadership + Growth + Performance + Efficiency + Results

    3. Respect + Diversity + Inclusion + Development + Talent + Employees + Dignity + Empowerment

    4. Quality + Customer + Meet needs + Commitment + Make a difference + Dedication + Value + Exceed expectations

    5. Safety + Health + Work/Life balance + Flexibility

    6. Community + Environment + Caring + Citizenship

    7. Communication + Openness

    8. Hard work + Reward + Fun + Energy.

On 26 June 2015, the US joined 18 countries (see below) that allow same-sex marriage. Gay marriage is imminent in Finland, Nepal, Slovenia and Paraguay.

Legality of Same Sex Marriage Worldwide

Argentina (2010)Belgium (2003)Brazil (2013)
Canada (2005)England (2014)France (2013)
Iceland (2010)Luxembourg (2015)Netherlands (2001)
New Zealand (2013)Norway (2009)Portugal (2010)
Scotland (2014)South Africa (2006)Spain (2005)
Sweden (2009)Uruguay (2013)Wales (2014)

Meanwhile, in Australia it’s fair to say the majority’s values are not aligned with those of the government. For now.

In the days after the US Supreme Court decision, 26 million Facebook users changed their profile pics rainbow in support of gay marriage.

Opportunities to take a public stand are rare. Yet, with respect and diversity-themed values ranking among the most-mentioned corporate values, it’s not so surprising that momentum for change is building and being led by corporate Australia.

As at 14 July 2016, 875 entities had, via Australian Marriage Equality, pledged their support* for gay marriage in Australia:

  • 415 corporates, including around 20 percent of the ASX100
  • 136 local businesses
  • 188 regional businesses
  • 38 local councils
  • 23 universities
  • 75 not for profits.

I respect  these organisations for putting their complacency, discomfort, ambivalence, fear and greed aside and standing up for a human right.

Wherever you stand on the issue of gay marriage, the historic US decision provides another opportunity to review your company’s values, and reflect upon whether it really does embody them.

If it doesn’t, will you stand for that?

* including Market Expertise