Social Change: 6 Dos and Don’ts When Crafting Company Statements

The impact of cultural and social movements on the world is undeniable. For decades, they have shaped and shifted society in fascinating and lasting ways. Among many other ripple effects, cultural movements impact how healthcare companies communicate and do business.

Most all social movements have a central goal in common: equality. Many business leaders feel compelled to speak up by sharing a company statement on their website. But unless you have true strategies for equal opportunity in place behind that statement, you’re putting your people, and your company, at risk.

Here are some important points to consider when your leadership group or marketing team sits down to craft a corporate statement about social or cultural issues.

Crafting Company Statements: 6 Dos and Don’ts

1. Do: Communicate Impact on Customer Relationships

Before committing to a company statement, think about how a given social or cultural movement and their goals intersect with the work you do, your team members, and the customers you serve. Acknowledge how it is relevant to you in any statements, commitments, or policy adjustments you make.

2. Don’t: Be Superficial or Pay Lip Service

We’ve all seen people, leaders, and organizations  put their foot in their mouth by making a superficial statement that they don’t back up with identifiable actions and measurable changes. Take the Washington Redskins for example.

screencap of a social media blackout tweet by the Washington Redskins, followed by a reply that reads hey guys, I have an idea for how you can maybe do your part to defeat some racism

The NFL team participated in a “social media blackout” in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) by tweeting a black square. But one of their followers was quick to respond in a way that held them accountable for cultural sensitivity changes their own organization has yet to make. [Though they’ve been criticized about it since the 1940s, the team has yet to change their name and many of their logos. The name uses a racial slur, and the logos rely on stereotyped images of Native Americans and their culture.] You don’t want to end up in that situation when crafting a company statement. Any statements you make can be directly connected to actions. Make sure those connections are positive ones.

3. Don’t: Make Social Media Posts the Endgame

When crafting a company statement in response to social change or unrest, go beyond a Facebook post or Tweet. Social media is an important tool for communicating with your clients and customers, and it is definitely a way to get them to engage with you when talking about the issues being brought to the forefront by current events. But it’s important to remember social media is one means of connection. It’s not meant to be the final step or action in any serious strategic planning for greater equality or transparency.

4. Do: Determine Your Commitment to Equal Opportunity Practices

Statements of any kind can and will call your healthcare company’s credibility into question. If you do opt for making any public corporate statement, determine your level of commitment to equal opportunity (EO) practices first. Do you need to step things up to be in-line with statements you plan to make? Or is it simply a matter of reaffirming an existing commitment to your customers and your community? Either way, it’s never a bad idea to have EO on your radar, and to evaluate the results of those practices honestly.

5. Do: Be Sure Everyone is On Board with Changes

Just as you need to be clear about any policy changes you plan to make, it’s important to be sure that everyone in your organization is on board with any shifts in your organizational culture, your customer service, or your EO policies that may be happening in conjunction with a company statement. If not, you’ll be walking into a minefield.

6. Do: Show, Don’t Tell

Above all, show you are committed to fair and equal treatment of people as a leader in the healthcare industry, don’t just tell it with a corporate statement. If writing a statement is not a priority for your leadership team, acting with integrity should still be a central goal of any response to cultural shifts or community needs. New England industrial painting, cleaning, and flooring company Kaloutas does this well.

Three of their team members are pictured arm in arm on the main homepage banner with the words “We value people. Our focus is not contracts and bottom lines – we’re about people, knowing your needs and meeting them.” The photo reflects both the camaraderie and diversity of their workforce. Whether or not you make a corporate statement in response to community needs or a social climate, people need to know you care. Find ways to demonstrate your commitment to your principles in your business practices, and get creative about how you share that with your customers, clients, and stakeholders.

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