Workers believe the majority of British businesses act irresponsibly, study shows

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Only one in five (20%) workers say they believe that the majority of UK businesses act responsibly, according to new research by IT services company Rioch.

The study shows that workers have strong views on the nature of business responsibility, citing practices such as treating employees well, paying the right amount of tax and reducing environmental impact as the principles of responsible business practice.

Phil Keoghan, CEO of Ricoh, said:

“Increasingly workers are seeking more than just a numeration at the end of the month from their employers, so business leaders must recognise the importance of creating more positive working environments to meet this demand.

“British companies already provide important initiatives for employees and their communities, but our research shows much more needs to be done to build trust with workers. UK business leaders now have an exciting opportunity to prove that they can deliver positive, responsible growth, providing economic security along with support for communities and society.”

When referring to their priorities in terms of what represents responsible business practices, four in five (77%) workers marked treating employees well, just under three quarters (74%) answered paying the right amount of tax and over half (57%) stated that businesses should reduce their environmental impact as much as possible.

The research, conducted by YouGov and polled 1,226 workers aged 16+ in the UK, has also revealed that more than half (51%) of UK workers value a positive working culture and good colleagues (53%) as very important to their wellbeing, compared to just 35 per cent that said regular pay rises.

Findings from a recent CBI study, as part of its Great Business Debate campaign, also echo the results from this report, with only 32 percent of people believing that the majority of British businesses behave ethically and over two-thirds (68%) of people stating they believe industry scandals have impacted on their confidence in business as a whole.

Sara Parker, Chief Membership Director at the CBI, said:

“This report, along with our recent research, should be taken seriously by businesses across the UK. Expectations have been raised from employees, especially since the financial crisis, and they’re seeking more from their employers in terms of becoming more responsive and engaged with them and their local communities.

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