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An i4cp Report
Measuring and Managing
The New
Corporate
Currency
Purpose, Culture,
and Brand
Includes insights from members
of the boards of the following:
©2020 by Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods,
without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
For permission requests, write to i4cp.com/contact.
FOR COPIES OF THIS REPORT
Research reports published by i4cp are made available to member organizations and may
be shared internally on an unlimited basis. For non-member access or information on i4cp
membership, visit the i4cp website at i4cp.com or call 1-866-375-i4cp (4427).
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 1
They say that times of crisis reveal the true character of an individual. This is also true of
an organization and its leadership.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and subsequent slowdown of the global economy
is the latest crisis—albeit unprecedented—testing the true character of organizations
and in particular, their leaders.
Too often we are reminded that in this era of continuous disruption, any organization
can go from relevant to irrelevant (as well as from irrelevant to relevant) overnight. Even
before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact,
headlines to this effect have been alarming and all too frequent:
• 
WeWork’s valuation plunged more than 80% after allegations of CEO and employee
misconduct were uncovered during the company’s IPO efforts (Mohamed, 2019).
• 
Away luggage’s CEO stepped down four days after a scathing article on the
company’s toxic culture appeared in an online publication (Schiffer, 2019).
• 
Zenefits lost over half its value when its CEO was ousted after revelations of a
culture that permitted disregard for compliance regulations among other things
became public (Primack, 2016).
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Measuring and Managing
The New
Corporate
Currency
Purpose, Culture,
and Brand
In this era of
continuous
disruption, any
organization can
go from relevant
to irrelevant
(as well as
from irrelevant
to relevant)
overnight.
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2 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
While the reporting on such incidences is often focused at the top of organizations, the
underlying issues are often much deeper and the consequences far-reaching. What is
the cost of hidden toxicity in an organization’s culture in terms of lost revenue, employee
engagement, productivity, product quality, brand integrity, customer and community
relations, and even the natural environment?
Much like the potential danger associated with an iceberg is mostly unseen at the
surface, the real risk to an organization often lurks several levels below the executive
suite. The 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the numerous California
wildfires attributed to PGE, and the fatal crashes of two Boeing Max 737 airliners are
all reminders of the devastating effect corporate culture can contribute to business (and
other) disasters.
What is the
cost of hidden
toxicity in an
organization’s
culture?
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 3
With this in mind, the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) surveyed and/or
interviewed CEOs of mid- and large-sized organizations representing a diverse array of
industries, as well as directors who collectively serve, or have served, on dozens of public
company boards.
The purpose was simple and two-fold: to find out what human capital data and
information they find most valuable in executing their roles and to gain their perspectives
on how companies should leverage human capital and culture metrics in the future in
order to better govern.
Collectively, their concerns focused on risk and readiness related to executing their
evolving business strategies, as well as capitalizing on market opportunities. That’s
nothing new. What is new is their emphasis on organizational culture and capability as
critical components of the business value equation, as well as the metrics and strategies
that will help illuminate and optimize both.
This mirrors a massive shift in the business value equation that has occurred over the
past few decades. Today, it’s not uncommon for as much as 85% of a company’s value
to be reflected in intangible assets. Factors such as innovation, culture, trust, brand, and
talent—things typically considered soft—are now proving to be hard in terms of impact
and the ability to monitor, measure, and manage.
The shift in the business
value equation brings rise to
a New Corporate Currency
As much as 85%
of a company’s
value can be
reflected in
intangible
assets such
as innovation,
culture, trust,
brand, and talent.
4 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
It also reflects a seismic shift in attitudes and expectations across a wide range of
key stakeholders on three elements that i4cp suggests comprise The New Corporate
Currency: Purpose, Culture, and Brand:
Purpose – In 2019, more than 180 CEOs who comprise the Business Roundtable
issued a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, defining the ideal as an
organization that promotes an economy that serves all stakeholders rather than just
shareholders.
In essence, an organization’s purpose defines why it does what it does and aims to
connect to the heads and hearts of all of its stakeholders, not just its shareholders. In
particular, it seeks to attract, inspire, and retain talent. Other research conducted by
i4cp on the future of work shows that 21st century talent—those with the skills and
acumen in high demand—have the luxury of choosing not only for whom they work,
but where, when, and how the work gets done. With everything being equal (pay,
benefits, development, opportunity) the best and brightest talent wants to associate
with organizations that have a strong sense of purpose (i.e., what it does and what it
stands for beyond profit) and a culture that reinforces it.
Culture – It’s that sense of purpose that also shapes the organization’s culture (i.e.,
how people experience the leadership, its workforce, and the workplace as a result of
what is condoned, rewarded, encouraged, and penalized in the organization).
Culture is a true reflection of the behavior and actions of an organization’s leaders
at every level and it must resonate with the talent it seeks. According to law firm Akin
Gump Strauss Hauer  Feld’s annual look at top board issues, corporate reputation,
pay equity, board diversity, and environment/social/governance all rank among the top
10 topics for boards in 2020. The firm’s report also posited “… it’s important in 2020 for
board members to take an active role in guiding a company culture that values human
capital.”
Brand – Consumer activism is on the rise, and being a well-researched, informed
buyer is the norm. Research firm Edelman found that 68% of survey respondents said
that when a brand earns their full trust across product, customer experience, and
societal impact, they will buy first, stay loyal to, advocate for, and defend that brand,
compared to just 47% who trust only the product alone.
The best and
brightest talent want
to associate with
organizations that
have a strong sense
of purpose.
Culture is a true
reflection of the
behavior and actions
of an organization’s
leaders at every level.
Your brand must
reflect your purpose.
The lynchpin
connecting purpose
and brand is your
culture.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 5
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
What people experience with an organization as employees, consumers, or suppliers
will dictate how they talk about the organization among colleagues, friends and
acquaintances, and in social media. All of this shapes the organization’s reputation and
identity (i.e., its brand) as a place to work (employer brand), a provider of products and
services (consumer brand), an investment vehicle, and a steward of the environments
in which it operates.
Put simply, your brand must reflect your purpose. And the lynchpin connecting purpose
and brand is your culture.
The importance and impact of these elements is perhaps best articulated by Microsoft
CEO Satya Nadella, who noted in remarks at the 2017 FinTech Ideas Festival,
“
Being CEO has taught me this—that two things
perhaps matter the most: Having a very clear sense
of purpose or mission that gives the organization real
direction; and having a culture that allows you to go
after that mission.”
Satya Nadella
CEO, Microsoft
Why your organization does what it does—aims to
connect to the heads and hearts of its key stakeholders,
in particular those it seeks to attract and retain.
What people experience working at your firm—
what is done, condoned, rewarded, encouraged,
and penalized in the organization.
How your organization is viewed and
perceived—as a place to work, a provider
of products and services, an investment
vehicle, and a steward of the
environments in which it operates.
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Source: Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)
6 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
i4cp research has long established that high-performance organizations consistently
excel in five core domains: market, strategy, culture, leadership, and talent. Optimization
in each domain leads to important outcomes:
1. Market – advocacy and loyalty among customers and key stakeholder groups
2. Strategy – successful strategy execution
3. Culture – supportive and change-ready environment
4. 
Leadership – behaviors and actions that enable a culture that attracts, inspires,
and retains the talent needed to execute the strategy
5. Talent – the essential talent and skills in place now and in the future
These five domains, in particular culture and leadership, have never been more relevant.
The interests and concerns that CEOs and corporate board members shared with i4cp
clearly suggest not only heightened awareness of the importance of these to their
respective business value equations, but to the interrelatedness and impact of each of
these five domains on an organization’s ability to manage in this environment
of continuous disruption and achieve sustainable high performance.
Definition:
Market Performance
Index (MPI)®
This index defines high-
performance organizations
based on their self-reported
multi-year performance
in profitability, revenue,
customer satisfaction,
and market share.
Nadella went on to describe the critical role of culture in enabling an organization to
attract the capability it requires to evolve:
“
The problem is that at some point, that [business]
concept you started with will run out of gas. You now
need a new concept. That new concept will need new
capability. And that's hard, mostly because culture
will not let you build that new capability.”
Once all-conquering, and then beset by bureaucracy and internal politics, Microsoft had
lost ground in the mid- to late-2000s to rivals Apple and Google.
Nadella promptly led an overhaul of Microsoft’s corporate culture in early 2014 after
becoming just the third person to take on the top job at the technology giant. Since then,
the company’s stock price has increased nearly fivefold and recently topped $1 trillion in
market capitalization.
Microsoft’s culture renovation is one of the best examples of leveraging the new
corporate currency into shareholder value.
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 7
Ensuring optimization and alignment of this new corporate currency is where many
organizations struggle.
Says Joan Amble, board member at Zurich Insurance, Sirius XM Holdings, and Booz Allen
Hamilton, this ability is paramount:
“
Like the old adage the whole is greater than the
sum of its parts, i4cp’s New Corporate Currency
showcases what most savvy senior executives already
know: a company can only achieve greatness if its
purpose, culture, and brand are in synch. If any one
of those elements is not, the corporation’s currency
can be devalued instantly. Regaining that value can
take years, and in some instances companies never
recover. Getting this right, and having the ability to
monitor the pulse of the organization on all fronts,
is an imperative that requires vigilance, constant
measurement and engaged ownership by all.”
The New Corporate
Currency Demystified
Joan Amble
Board member of Booz Allen
Hamilton, SiriusXM Holdings,
and Zurich Insurance, and an
independent advisor to the
Control and Risk Committee of the
Executive Committee of the U.S.
affiliate of Société Générale S.A.
8 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Measuring this new corporate currency can be a challenge for many organizations.
What is measured and how the appropriate data is collected and analyzed will vary by
company. Agreement on what to measure, access to different types of data, and the level
of analytical sophistication all play a role in how effective companies are at measuring this
currency.
Truly understanding workforce sentiment is critical to this measurement, and new
technologies are beginning to help. The use of natural language processing and artificial
intelligence engines for ongoing monitoring and analysis of internal and external
sentiment is gaining in popularity and represents what i4cp considers to be a next
practice in monitoring culture.
High-performance organizations use multiple methods to continuously monitor the
alignment of their purpose as well as state of their culture, and the strength of their
brand.
For example, in addition to monitoring, collecting, and analyzing how employees feel
about the work environment, another effective gauge of workforce sentiment is asking
questions much more frequently—beyond the traditional annual or biennial all-employee
engagement survey. For example, every workday at Amazon, groups of employees
are briefly surveyed via a single pop-up question that appears when they log in to the
network to help measure sentiment in real time.
At minimum, to understand and optimize the new corporate currency, i4cp advises
organizations to track, measure, and analyze data trending in the following:
Purpose indicators: The following are two simple agree/disagree questions i4cp suggests
using to regularly survey the workforce to assess how alignment of purpose is trending:
• 
This organization cares about its impact on society as well as making money
• 
I believe what this organization does is important and meaningful
Culture indicators/measures:
• 
Retention rate of critical talent
• 
The number of policy violations or incidents reported
• 
Customer advocacy score (e.g., Net Promoter Score)
• 
Inclusion
• 
Strength of employer brand
High-performance
organizations use
multiple methods
to continuously
monitor the
alignment of their
purpose as well
as state of their
culture, and the
strength of their
brand.
Definition:
Next Practice
Practices correlated
to positive market
performance that are
used by a relatively small
number of top-performing
organizations—and that
other organizations should
consider implementing.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 9
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Brand indicators/measures:
• 
Assess comments posted on employer review platforms such as Glassdoor’s CEO
ratings, Comparably, Indeed, and others
• 
The number and quality of employee referrals
• 
Employee advocacy score (e.g., employee Net Promoter Score)
• 
The number of employer choice awards
• 
Social media sentiment (e.g., # of likes, # of retweets, followers, what’s being posted
about the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
i4cp’s study, Mastering Employer Brand revealed that the top two most impactful
employer brand measures are the ability of all employees to effectively communicate
the brand to others, and the degree to which top talent is a source of successful hires.
These two go hand-in-glove. If the employer brand (i.e., reputation and identity as a
place to work) is strong, it follows that top talent will be advocates for the organization
and a source of successful hires by recommending the company within their personal
networks.
i4cp’s talent acquisition research has shown that employee referrals are often the
number-one source of quality hires for organizations. It's also essential to understand
how the organization is discussed and perceived externally by candidates and employees
(both current and former). This speaks to the importance of understanding overall social
sentiment: high-performance organizations are much more likely than lower-performing
companies to be tuned into (and actively engaged in shaping) perception about their
organization.
To read more, see i4cp’s report
Reimagining Talent Acquisition
Part III: Mastering Employer Brand.
10 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Soft is the New Hard, and
Culture Holds the Key
In its report Culture as a Corporate Asset, the National Association of Corporate
Directors (NACD) posited: While it [culture] is often perceived as a soft issue, it is actually
a hard issue—both in the sense of having concrete impact, and in the sense of being
difficult to assess.
Jamie Gorelick, a partner at law firm WilmerHale and a member of the board at Amazon
and Verisign, echoed this sentiment when i4cp asked for her perspective on the
increased emphasis boards are placing on corporate culture.
“
My clients—corporate boards—want to know if
they’re sitting on quicksand,” said Gorelick. “They
want to know how well their companies are run,
and what the spirit of the people in the company is.
This surfaced during the MeToo movement, when
many board members said to themselves, ‘I had no
idea that was the kind of community that we were
supposedly overseeing’.”
It is clear that the business leaders i4cp interviewed perceive alignment and strength
of purpose, culture, and brand as essential to business risk mitigation and to overall
sustainable advantage.
Jamie Gorelick
Partner at WilmerHale and board
member of Amazon and Verisign
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 11
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Bob Herz, board member at Morgan Stanley and Fannie Mae, put all this into context:
“
The way I think about it—is our culture providing a
competitive advantage? Is it enabling execution of
our strategy? The flip side is risk, particularly risk
related to conduct and risk in executing the business
strategy. I think risk and strategy are the two sides of
the coin—you have to make sure the culture is both
driving a can-do attitude of innovation and speed
to market, while also providing guardrails to protect
against potential downsides.”
Herz served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the aforementioned NACD
study. In that report, the Commission wrote: “Boards should set the expectation with
management that regular assessments of culture will include qualitative and quantitative
information and incorporate data from sources outside the organization.”
The i4cp study, Culture Renovation™ A Blueprint for Action, answers that call to
action, outlining a blueprint that several iconic companies such as Microsoft, Booz Allen
Hamilton, 3M, and T-Mobile have followed to achieve success at culture renovation.
In each of these organizations, there was recognition of the indelible linkages of each
company’s legacy, overall purpose, organizational culture, and brand, all of which
combine to create a new corporate currency that these companies now bank on.
Critical—especially during a time of significant change or crisis—is the ability to tune in to
low-level signals that matter most. This, according to Irene Chang Britt, board member at
Dunkin' Brands, Brighthouse Financial, and Tailored Brands is an organizational muscle
that needs strengthening:
“
The biggest thing we lack in all organizations is
the ability to distinguish between strong and weak
signals. There's extraordinary success to be had with
those who can sense the weak signals that are going
to have an impact over time. Take the development
of AI and how much robotics will or will not take over.
It's the same about company culture.”
Robert H. Herz
Board member at Fannie Mae
and Morgan Stanley, and
former chairman of the
Financial Accounting
Standards Board (FASB)
Irene Chang Britt
Board member at Dunkin' Brands,
Brighthouse Financial, and
Tailored Brands, Inc.
To read more, see i4cp’s report
Culture Renovation™
A Blueprint for Action.
12 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Pressure to Disclose
Human Capital and
Culture Data is Mounting
In addition to pressure from board members, chief executives, consumers, and
workers, corporations are increasingly sensing pressure from investors and
regulatory bodies to publicly disclose information and metrics that provide evidence
of the health of a firm’s culture and effectiveness in managing its human capital.
The Investment Community – In 2019, State Street Global Advisors announced in
a proxy letter that it would be “focusing on corporate culture as one of the many,
growing intangible value drivers that affect a company’s ability to execute its long
term strategy.” Earlier that year, in his annual letter to chief executives, BlackRock
CEO Larry Fink urged leaders to pay more attention to their human capital
management efforts and disclose more information about these practices.
Regulatory Bodies – In August 2019, the U.S. Securities  Exchange Commission
proposed amendments to modernize required business disclosures. This includes
“any human capital measures or objectives that management focuses on in managing
the business, to the extent such disclosures would be material to an understanding
of the registrant’s business.” Earlier, in January 2019, the International Standards
Organization (ISO) issued ISO 30414, guidelines for internal and external human
capital reporting.
Corporations
are increasingly
sensing pressure
from investors
and regulatory
bodies to
publicly disclose
information
and metrics that
provide evidence
of the health of a
firm’s culture.
Institute for Corporate Productivity |13
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
While there is no current regulation that requires U.S.-based corporations to publicly
disclose data or information on their workforces beyond the customary financials
and tactical information such as current headcount, the evidence cited above leaves
business leaders pondering how much effort they should be exerting today toward
these disclosures.
A good start is to become familiar with the proposed International Standards
Organization (ISO) 30414 Human Capital reporting standards.
i4cp advises that every U.S.-based public corporation prepare now
for the eventual requirement to publicly disclose data related to the
management of a firm’s human capital. The question for corporate
leaders: what and how much data related to culture and human capital
to disclose, and to whom?
14 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Culture Types and
the Traits of a Healthy
Organizational Culture
A significant challenge, as revealed in i4cp’s study on Culture Renovation, is that most
firms lack clarity in determining whether the culture is helping or impeding execution of
the business strategy. Further, most do not understand which levers to pull in order to
reinforce the positive or course-correct the negative.
A primary reason is that most executives neglect one vital element of importance: Clarity
on the type of culture an organization aspires to reflect in comparison to the culture
it actually has. This is imperative in order to define what to measure. Yet, our research
found that the critical detail of determining those indicators upfront was overlooked by
90% of organizations that failed in their culture change efforts.
Over the years, i4cp’s research has consistently identified the ten most prevalent
organizational culture types. They are:
• Performance
• Agile
• Collaborative
• Inclusive
• Innovative
• Learning
• Health/Safety
• Customer-focused
• Quality
• Purpose/Mission
Most firms
lack clarity in
determining
whether the
culture is
helping or
impeding
execution of
the business
strategy.
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 15
The type of culture an organization aspires to will also dictate specific indicators it
should focus on. Take, for example, an organization that seeks a more collaborative and
agile culture. That organization should consider several questions to include in daily or
weekly workforce pulse surveys and track progress against those on a quarterly basis.
Responses to a question such as “my team or department has a set of goals we work
together to achieve” indicate how collaborative a culture actually is, while a question
such as “I feel safe to try out new ideas, make mistakes, and learn from past experiences”
gauges the true agility of an agile culture.
There are also multiple markers and traits of a healthy company culture. The i4cp study
on Culture Renovation revealed 12 distinct cultural traits that have strong, positive
correlation with the i4cp Market Performance Index and distinguished high-performance
organizations from lower-performing organizations.
According to that research, high-performance organizations were three times (3X) more
likely to indicate (to a high or very high extent) that their cultures are highly collaborative.
High-performance organizations were also four times (4X) more likely to describe their
cultures as “employee empowered.” And over twice as many of those representing high-
performance organizations said transparency is valued in their companies.
In contrast, two-thirds of those from lower-performing organizations described their
cultures as “top-down, command and control,” which was nearly 50% higher than their
high-performing counterparts.
The type of culture
an organization
aspires to will also
dictate specific
indicators it
should focus on.
Traits of a Healthy Culture
Values execution
and accountability
77%
38% 2x
Obsessed with delivering
value to external customers
79%
54% 1.5x
Actively supports
diversity and inclusion
70%
43% 1.5x
High priority on
speed-to-market
66%
45% 1.5x
2x
Supports continuous
learning and development
of all its employees
66%
34%
1.5x
Values societal impact as
much as financial impact
64%
39%
3x
Highly collaborative
63%
23%
2.5x
Nurtures innovative
thinking and its application
62%
24%
2.5x
Views failure as
an opportunity to
learn and grow
48%
21%
2x
Values transparency
61%
28%
4x
Employee empowered
45%
12%
3.5x
Brings out the best
performance in employees
51%
15%
1.5x
Is a top-down, command
and control organization
45%
66%
Organizations with 1,000+ employees. Source: i4cp
Low-performance organizations
High-performance organizations
16 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
The Critical Role of
Leaders in Shaping the
New Corporate Currency
What employees experience is often a reflection of the behaviors of those with
the greatest authority. i4cp’s Culture Renovation™ study found that in 86% of the
organizations that reported success with their culture change initiatives, the CEO
first met with the senior leadership team to provide clarity on the behavioral changes
required to drive and sustain the desired culture and engage them in the vision.
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, core to the company’s ability to reestablish
its innovative leadership was the ability and willingness of its leaders to exhibit a
growth mindset and to be more “learn-it-alls” than know-it-alls. The company trained
all employees on the concepts of growth mindset, and reinforced the training by
consistently asking employees if they were aware of the growth mindset Nadella sought
to instill in Microsoft’s culture. They also asked whether leaders at Microsoft exhibited
this important quality.
Change requires hard work and an all-in approach. This also requires tough decisions.
What employees
experience
is often a
reflection of
the behaviors
of those with
the greatest
authority.
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REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Chief executives and other corporate leaders must be careful to identify and deal with
leaders who don’t agree with the new direction. Leadership’s ability and willingness at
all levels to embody the desired culture is non-negotiable. It may be necessary to move
some of the naysayers and blockers out of the way if they can’t get onboard—even if they
are top performers. In the Culture Renovation study, i4cp found that 38% of organizations
that had successful culture transformations had replaced senior leaders who were not
willing or able to embrace and model the desired culture.
David Brandon, chairman of the board of Dominos—the second-highest performing
stock this past decade among companies with market capitalizations over $10 billion—
underscores the importance of this:
“
Leadership style and effectiveness drives culture.
It's not only the people you hire and the skills and
experience they bring to the organization, but also
the mindset and the cultural fit they bring to the
organization. Over the course of a long career, I’ve
had the opportunity to see leaders who get results
through people, and then there are others who tend
to get results by going over and/or around people.
The great companies with great cultures have leaders
who embrace the former and their culture is so strong
it won’t tolerate those behaviors from the latter.”
David Brandon
Chairman of Domino’s, and board
member of Herman Miller, DTE
Energy, and PetSmart
18 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Where HR Must
Flex its Muscle
With the increased emphasis these various stakeholders are placing on the human
elements of a corporation, it’s no wonder corporate boards are now placing greater
premium on HR expertise.
“
The board searches I’ve been part of the last two
or three years, in just about every case, among
the qualities we've listed as a preferred skill or
a particularly strong ‘what counts factor’ is HR
experience,” Brandon says. “I believe it’s much
more on the radar because that voice around the
table and their perspective is going to make your
board perform better.”
Corporate
boards are
now placing
greater
premium on
HR expertise.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 19
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Brandon also says that some boards are becoming both more agile and hands-on in how
they are collaborating with HR and other talent leaders.
“The other thing I've observed is boards are creating—if not permanent committees—
ad hoc committees in which they’re assigning two-to-three board members to work
with the HR lead and/or the CEO on particular HR related initiatives.
The point being it’s not just about recruiting HR folks to join boards, it’s also
directing attention from existing board members to important topics such as
social responsibility, inclusion and diversity, employee engagement, and culture
management. I see far more focus and engagement as it relates to deploying this
expertise around the director’s table, which, five or 10 years ago you wouldn’t
have seen.”
With HR expertise at a premium, the opportunity and onus for HR leaders is high and the
call to action is simple:
1. 
Be attuned to the state of the organization’s culture. Is what is currently being
measured providing the right data and information needed to make critical
decisions?
2. 
What areas of the organization are demonstrably supportive of the business
strategy and where are there risks to the sustainability of the business?
3. 
What is being done to drive that critical alignment and how is progress against
that tracking?
4. 
When it comes to capability, what is the organization doing to ready its
workforce with the skillset and mindset to drive the business forward? Will
the culture of the organization promote or detract from the development and
advancement of the capabilities needed in the future?
With HR
expertise (in
the boardroom)
at a premium,
the opportunity
and onus for HR
leaders is high.
THE BOARD’S-EYE VIEW
OF HUMAN RESOURCES
ADVICE TO CHROs
Six leaders on the insights board directors seek from HR:
Jamie Gorelick
Partner at WilmerHale and board member of Amazon and Verisign.
Boards seek a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the culture… what issues are percolating. Board members
want to know what the leadership of the company can do to foster a stronger culture—to address shortcomings and
underscore strengths.
Providing a real outlet for people is the most important way to affect your culture. Employees know the community
in which they operate. So, I think the single most important thing that an HR executive can do is make sure that
information is flowing freely, that within the chain of command it is welcomed, that there are avenues outside the
chain of command that are robust and real, and that there is zero fear that someone who raises an issue or makes a
suggestion will suffer any untoward consequence.
David Brandon
Chairman of Domino’s, and board member of Herman Miller, DTE Energy, and PetSmart.
The HR leader must be involved in virtually every discussion that takes place around the leadership team table as it
relates to the strategy and operations of the company. If the HR leader’s voice is not present, critical insights such as
the resourcing required to support the workforce, the required level of staffing, and the talent and investment that’s
required to carry out the strategic plan might be left behind. Strategies don’t get executed without the human capital
in place to make them happen. If the HR leader is not deeply engaged in the planning process every step of the way,
then that HR function is being left out on an island, separated from the ongoing strategy planning and the day-to-day
operations of the business. And that, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster.
Be courageous in keeping your fingers on the pulse of where things are headed. Challenge yourself to contribute
insights: ‘Here’s an area we need to explore,’ or ‘There’s strategic advantage in directing attention there.’ The head of
HR has to be tuned in and willing to take that information to senior management—and to include advice on how to
act on it.
Holly Gregory
Partner and Co-Chair of the Global Corporate Governance  Executive Compensation Practice at law firm Sidley Austin.
For each of the last 15 years, Ms. Gregory has also been listed among the Top 100 Influencers in Corporate Governance.
20 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
Robert H. Herz
Board member of Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley, and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
The HR leader and the HR function have got to be looking at the human asset capability of the company—its ability
to deliver on the strategy in terms of the workforce now and into the future. They’ve got to be experts in that. They’ve
got to understand and provide input into the whole strategy, and then be able to contribute to the building of those
capabilities and to the mitigation of risk. And they’ve got to be viewed by the rest of the management group as a vital
strategic partner in that whole process.
Increasingly, in most of the organizations with which I’m involved, technological change and disruption are integral to
the whole strategy. With that comes the necessity to think about the human talent implications of technology. What
are the business’ needs going to be in the next three to five years and beyond? Where are we on that and how are we
going to get where we need to go? What’s the talent architecture now, what’s it going to look like in the future?
My advice for CHROs is the same I give to all leaders and has two elements: First, provide clarity on how you are
dealing with important issues. For example, we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the business, along
with the HR organization, needs to be upskilled for this. Are you? Is your team? What are you doing to prepare the
organization? Second, remember who you are and what you want, and never let the latter get in the way of the
former.
The added element for those in HR is to understand the power you have to drive integrity in the organization and
make a safe place for all to raise their hand without fear of retribution or judgment. Integrity means doing the
right thing even when there is a personal price or risk attached, that means HR as well, even when it is a difficult
conversation, is a sensitive issue, or is potentially contrary to popular/or your opinion. I learned this from someone
I hold in the highest regard. If we can distill this in every employee in the organization, we have a fighting chance to
ensure integrity in all we do. I leave the talent management expertise to you! That should be second nature.
Joan Amble
Board member of Booz Allen Hamilton, Sirius XM Holdings, and Zurich Insurance, and an independent advisor
to the Control and Risk Committee of the Executive Committee of the U.S. affiliate of Société Générale S.A.
Lisa Shalett
Former Goldman Sachs executive who has served on private and public company boards
and founder of a group of women directors called Extraordinary Women on Boards.
Boards tend to perceive HR as beholden to the CEO, and as a result, HR might hesitate to be completely honest
with the board. Board Directors seek:
• 
A trusted relationship with HR
• 
Transparency
• 
Real insights into the culture (or: insights into the “real” culture, or a better way to say this—
what the culture really is)
• 
Relevant metrics—that are clear, identify trends, and help surface potential risks
As part of i4cp’s ongoing research into corporate culture, survey data was collected from executives at more than 6,000 organizations worldwide
and extensive phone interviews were conducted with more than 20 senior-level business executives, including several members of public
company boards. i4cp members can access related reports, case studies, infographics, and more at i4cp.com/kc/culture/corporate-culture.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 21
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
22 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
The Organizational
Call-to-Action
Successful organizations have proven that the new corporate currency is a formula for
overall success. The strength and health of the three elements that comprise this new
currency (purpose, culture, and brand) are critical to long term shareholder return.
Increasingly, corporate boards are waking up to the importance of governing culture as
rigorously as they govern other elements of the organization, and investors are calling for
evidence that links culture to performance.
These critical stakeholders realize that the new corporate currency is both a risk
mitigation tool to prevent the organization from being the next alarming headline and an
execution tool for future success.
For any organization’s senior leadership team, understanding and agreeing on the right
measurements is a discussion that, if it hasn’t happened already, must be a top priority.
Organizations and boards should:
1. 
Have a clear understanding of the culture the organization has and the
culture it seeks.
2. 
Implement mechanisms that enable easy access to and analysis of both
quantitative data (e.g., workforce surveys) and qualitative data (e.g., employee
sentiment posted to internal/external social media).
3.   
Define and reinforce the leadership behaviors and attributes that support and
impede the organization from achieving its desired culture.
4. 
At the very least, track, measure, and analyze trending data related to the
indicators and measures of the organization’s new corporate currency
(purpose, culture, and brand).
5. 
Review the ISO measures and SEC recommendations in comparison to what
the organization currently tracks and measures, in order to prepare today in
anticipation of what will be required for public disclosure in the future.
By following this guidance and implementing these recommendations, organizations
will not only illuminate the hidden iceberg of cultural toxicity and be better prepared for
unforeseen crisis, but also chart a purposeful path for long-term smooth sailing.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 23
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
24 | Institute for Corporate Productivity
Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
References
2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report. Edelman.com
Fitzgerald, Maggie (2019). “Here are the best-performing stocks of the decade.” CNBC.com
Institute for Corporate Productivity (2019). Culture Renovation: A Blueprint for Action. i4cp.com
Institute for Corporate Productivity (2019). The 5 Essential Elements to Manage Continuous 			
Disruption. i4cp.com
Institute for Corporate Productivity (2018). Mastering Employer Brand. i4cp.com
Institute for Corporate Productivity (2016). Talent Risk Management. i4cp.com
Institute for Corporate Productivity (2018). The 3 A’s of Organizational Agility. i4cp.com
Mohamed, Theron (2019). WeWork's value plunged more than 80% to below $5 billion
last quarter SoftBank says. Here's why that's a staggering drop.
markets.businessinsider.com
National Association of Corporate Directors (2017). Culture as a Corporate Asset. nacdonline.org
Primack, Dan (2016). Zenefits Loses Over Half Of Its Value. fortune.com
Schiffer, Zoe (2019). Away replaces CEO Steph Korey after Verge investigation. theverge.com
Authors and Contributors
Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer
Kevin Oakes, CEO
Jay Jamrog, Co-founder and Futurist, i4cp
Lorrie Lykins, Vice President of Research, i4cp
Eric Davis, Creative Director  Senior Editor, i4cp
About i4cp
i4cp is a research and advisory firm that discovers next practices in human capital. Our member
organizations rely on i4cp to ensure that their efforts will make the greatest impact on the
business today and in the future. Through superior research, peer collaboration, tools, and
data, we provide insights that help organizations better anticipate, adapt, and act in a constantly
changing business environment.
Institute for Corporate Productivity | 25
REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
Acknowledgements
We gratefully acknowledge the generosity and contributions of time and expertise on the part of
the following individuals:
Joan Amble, Board member of Booz Allen Hamilton, SiriusXM Holdings, and Zurich Insurance,
and an independent advisor to the Control and Risk Committee of the Executive
Committee of the U.S. affiliate of Société Générale S.A.
David Brandon, Chairman of Domino’s, and board member of Herman Miller, DTE Energy,
and PetSmart.
Irene Chang Britt, board member at Dunkin' Brands, Brighthouse Financial, and
Tailored Brands
Jamie Gorelick, Partner at WilmerHale and board member of Amazon and Verisign.
Holly Gregory, Partner and Co-Chair of the Global Corporate Governance  Executive
	
Compensation Practice at law firm Sidley Austin. For each of the last 15 years, Ms.
Gregory has also been listed among the Top 100 Influencers in Corporate Governance.
Robert H. Herz, Board member of Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley, and former chairman
of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
Lisa Shalett, Former Goldman Sachs executive who has served on private and public 		
company boards, and founder of a group of women directors called Extraordinary 		
Women on Boards.
Michael Volkema, Chairman of the board at Herman Miller and board member at
Wolverine Worldwide
Discover your next practice.
Learn more at i4cp.com

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Kevin Martin: The New Corporate Currency

  • 1. An i4cp Report Measuring and Managing The New Corporate Currency Purpose, Culture, and Brand Includes insights from members of the boards of the following:
  • 2. ©2020 by Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to i4cp.com/contact. FOR COPIES OF THIS REPORT Research reports published by i4cp are made available to member organizations and may be shared internally on an unlimited basis. For non-member access or information on i4cp membership, visit the i4cp website at i4cp.com or call 1-866-375-i4cp (4427).
  • 3. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 1 They say that times of crisis reveal the true character of an individual. This is also true of an organization and its leadership. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and subsequent slowdown of the global economy is the latest crisis—albeit unprecedented—testing the true character of organizations and in particular, their leaders. Too often we are reminded that in this era of continuous disruption, any organization can go from relevant to irrelevant (as well as from irrelevant to relevant) overnight. Even before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact, headlines to this effect have been alarming and all too frequent: • WeWork’s valuation plunged more than 80% after allegations of CEO and employee misconduct were uncovered during the company’s IPO efforts (Mohamed, 2019). • Away luggage’s CEO stepped down four days after a scathing article on the company’s toxic culture appeared in an online publication (Schiffer, 2019). • Zenefits lost over half its value when its CEO was ousted after revelations of a culture that permitted disregard for compliance regulations among other things became public (Primack, 2016). REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Measuring and Managing The New Corporate Currency Purpose, Culture, and Brand In this era of continuous disruption, any organization can go from relevant to irrelevant (as well as from irrelevant to relevant) overnight. P U R P O S E C U L T U R E B R A N D
  • 4. 2 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT While the reporting on such incidences is often focused at the top of organizations, the underlying issues are often much deeper and the consequences far-reaching. What is the cost of hidden toxicity in an organization’s culture in terms of lost revenue, employee engagement, productivity, product quality, brand integrity, customer and community relations, and even the natural environment? Much like the potential danger associated with an iceberg is mostly unseen at the surface, the real risk to an organization often lurks several levels below the executive suite. The 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the numerous California wildfires attributed to PGE, and the fatal crashes of two Boeing Max 737 airliners are all reminders of the devastating effect corporate culture can contribute to business (and other) disasters. What is the cost of hidden toxicity in an organization’s culture?
  • 5. REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Institute for Corporate Productivity | 3 With this in mind, the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) surveyed and/or interviewed CEOs of mid- and large-sized organizations representing a diverse array of industries, as well as directors who collectively serve, or have served, on dozens of public company boards. The purpose was simple and two-fold: to find out what human capital data and information they find most valuable in executing their roles and to gain their perspectives on how companies should leverage human capital and culture metrics in the future in order to better govern. Collectively, their concerns focused on risk and readiness related to executing their evolving business strategies, as well as capitalizing on market opportunities. That’s nothing new. What is new is their emphasis on organizational culture and capability as critical components of the business value equation, as well as the metrics and strategies that will help illuminate and optimize both. This mirrors a massive shift in the business value equation that has occurred over the past few decades. Today, it’s not uncommon for as much as 85% of a company’s value to be reflected in intangible assets. Factors such as innovation, culture, trust, brand, and talent—things typically considered soft—are now proving to be hard in terms of impact and the ability to monitor, measure, and manage. The shift in the business value equation brings rise to a New Corporate Currency As much as 85% of a company’s value can be reflected in intangible assets such as innovation, culture, trust, brand, and talent.
  • 6. 4 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT It also reflects a seismic shift in attitudes and expectations across a wide range of key stakeholders on three elements that i4cp suggests comprise The New Corporate Currency: Purpose, Culture, and Brand: Purpose – In 2019, more than 180 CEOs who comprise the Business Roundtable issued a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, defining the ideal as an organization that promotes an economy that serves all stakeholders rather than just shareholders. In essence, an organization’s purpose defines why it does what it does and aims to connect to the heads and hearts of all of its stakeholders, not just its shareholders. In particular, it seeks to attract, inspire, and retain talent. Other research conducted by i4cp on the future of work shows that 21st century talent—those with the skills and acumen in high demand—have the luxury of choosing not only for whom they work, but where, when, and how the work gets done. With everything being equal (pay, benefits, development, opportunity) the best and brightest talent wants to associate with organizations that have a strong sense of purpose (i.e., what it does and what it stands for beyond profit) and a culture that reinforces it. Culture – It’s that sense of purpose that also shapes the organization’s culture (i.e., how people experience the leadership, its workforce, and the workplace as a result of what is condoned, rewarded, encouraged, and penalized in the organization). Culture is a true reflection of the behavior and actions of an organization’s leaders at every level and it must resonate with the talent it seeks. According to law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld’s annual look at top board issues, corporate reputation, pay equity, board diversity, and environment/social/governance all rank among the top 10 topics for boards in 2020. The firm’s report also posited “… it’s important in 2020 for board members to take an active role in guiding a company culture that values human capital.” Brand – Consumer activism is on the rise, and being a well-researched, informed buyer is the norm. Research firm Edelman found that 68% of survey respondents said that when a brand earns their full trust across product, customer experience, and societal impact, they will buy first, stay loyal to, advocate for, and defend that brand, compared to just 47% who trust only the product alone. The best and brightest talent want to associate with organizations that have a strong sense of purpose. Culture is a true reflection of the behavior and actions of an organization’s leaders at every level. Your brand must reflect your purpose. The lynchpin connecting purpose and brand is your culture.
  • 7. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 5 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency What people experience with an organization as employees, consumers, or suppliers will dictate how they talk about the organization among colleagues, friends and acquaintances, and in social media. All of this shapes the organization’s reputation and identity (i.e., its brand) as a place to work (employer brand), a provider of products and services (consumer brand), an investment vehicle, and a steward of the environments in which it operates. Put simply, your brand must reflect your purpose. And the lynchpin connecting purpose and brand is your culture. The importance and impact of these elements is perhaps best articulated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who noted in remarks at the 2017 FinTech Ideas Festival, “ Being CEO has taught me this—that two things perhaps matter the most: Having a very clear sense of purpose or mission that gives the organization real direction; and having a culture that allows you to go after that mission.” Satya Nadella CEO, Microsoft Why your organization does what it does—aims to connect to the heads and hearts of its key stakeholders, in particular those it seeks to attract and retain. What people experience working at your firm— what is done, condoned, rewarded, encouraged, and penalized in the organization. How your organization is viewed and perceived—as a place to work, a provider of products and services, an investment vehicle, and a steward of the environments in which it operates. P U R P O S E C U L T U R E B R A N D Source: Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)
  • 8. 6 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT i4cp research has long established that high-performance organizations consistently excel in five core domains: market, strategy, culture, leadership, and talent. Optimization in each domain leads to important outcomes: 1. Market – advocacy and loyalty among customers and key stakeholder groups 2. Strategy – successful strategy execution 3. Culture – supportive and change-ready environment 4. Leadership – behaviors and actions that enable a culture that attracts, inspires, and retains the talent needed to execute the strategy 5. Talent – the essential talent and skills in place now and in the future These five domains, in particular culture and leadership, have never been more relevant. The interests and concerns that CEOs and corporate board members shared with i4cp clearly suggest not only heightened awareness of the importance of these to their respective business value equations, but to the interrelatedness and impact of each of these five domains on an organization’s ability to manage in this environment of continuous disruption and achieve sustainable high performance. Definition: Market Performance Index (MPI)® This index defines high- performance organizations based on their self-reported multi-year performance in profitability, revenue, customer satisfaction, and market share. Nadella went on to describe the critical role of culture in enabling an organization to attract the capability it requires to evolve: “ The problem is that at some point, that [business] concept you started with will run out of gas. You now need a new concept. That new concept will need new capability. And that's hard, mostly because culture will not let you build that new capability.” Once all-conquering, and then beset by bureaucracy and internal politics, Microsoft had lost ground in the mid- to late-2000s to rivals Apple and Google. Nadella promptly led an overhaul of Microsoft’s corporate culture in early 2014 after becoming just the third person to take on the top job at the technology giant. Since then, the company’s stock price has increased nearly fivefold and recently topped $1 trillion in market capitalization. Microsoft’s culture renovation is one of the best examples of leveraging the new corporate currency into shareholder value.
  • 9. REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Institute for Corporate Productivity | 7 Ensuring optimization and alignment of this new corporate currency is where many organizations struggle. Says Joan Amble, board member at Zurich Insurance, Sirius XM Holdings, and Booz Allen Hamilton, this ability is paramount: “ Like the old adage the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, i4cp’s New Corporate Currency showcases what most savvy senior executives already know: a company can only achieve greatness if its purpose, culture, and brand are in synch. If any one of those elements is not, the corporation’s currency can be devalued instantly. Regaining that value can take years, and in some instances companies never recover. Getting this right, and having the ability to monitor the pulse of the organization on all fronts, is an imperative that requires vigilance, constant measurement and engaged ownership by all.” The New Corporate Currency Demystified Joan Amble Board member of Booz Allen Hamilton, SiriusXM Holdings, and Zurich Insurance, and an independent advisor to the Control and Risk Committee of the Executive Committee of the U.S. affiliate of Société Générale S.A.
  • 10. 8 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT Measuring this new corporate currency can be a challenge for many organizations. What is measured and how the appropriate data is collected and analyzed will vary by company. Agreement on what to measure, access to different types of data, and the level of analytical sophistication all play a role in how effective companies are at measuring this currency. Truly understanding workforce sentiment is critical to this measurement, and new technologies are beginning to help. The use of natural language processing and artificial intelligence engines for ongoing monitoring and analysis of internal and external sentiment is gaining in popularity and represents what i4cp considers to be a next practice in monitoring culture. High-performance organizations use multiple methods to continuously monitor the alignment of their purpose as well as state of their culture, and the strength of their brand. For example, in addition to monitoring, collecting, and analyzing how employees feel about the work environment, another effective gauge of workforce sentiment is asking questions much more frequently—beyond the traditional annual or biennial all-employee engagement survey. For example, every workday at Amazon, groups of employees are briefly surveyed via a single pop-up question that appears when they log in to the network to help measure sentiment in real time. At minimum, to understand and optimize the new corporate currency, i4cp advises organizations to track, measure, and analyze data trending in the following: Purpose indicators: The following are two simple agree/disagree questions i4cp suggests using to regularly survey the workforce to assess how alignment of purpose is trending: • This organization cares about its impact on society as well as making money • I believe what this organization does is important and meaningful Culture indicators/measures: • Retention rate of critical talent • The number of policy violations or incidents reported • Customer advocacy score (e.g., Net Promoter Score) • Inclusion • Strength of employer brand High-performance organizations use multiple methods to continuously monitor the alignment of their purpose as well as state of their culture, and the strength of their brand. Definition: Next Practice Practices correlated to positive market performance that are used by a relatively small number of top-performing organizations—and that other organizations should consider implementing.
  • 11. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 9 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Brand indicators/measures: • Assess comments posted on employer review platforms such as Glassdoor’s CEO ratings, Comparably, Indeed, and others • The number and quality of employee referrals • Employee advocacy score (e.g., employee Net Promoter Score) • The number of employer choice awards • Social media sentiment (e.g., # of likes, # of retweets, followers, what’s being posted about the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) i4cp’s study, Mastering Employer Brand revealed that the top two most impactful employer brand measures are the ability of all employees to effectively communicate the brand to others, and the degree to which top talent is a source of successful hires. These two go hand-in-glove. If the employer brand (i.e., reputation and identity as a place to work) is strong, it follows that top talent will be advocates for the organization and a source of successful hires by recommending the company within their personal networks. i4cp’s talent acquisition research has shown that employee referrals are often the number-one source of quality hires for organizations. It's also essential to understand how the organization is discussed and perceived externally by candidates and employees (both current and former). This speaks to the importance of understanding overall social sentiment: high-performance organizations are much more likely than lower-performing companies to be tuned into (and actively engaged in shaping) perception about their organization. To read more, see i4cp’s report Reimagining Talent Acquisition Part III: Mastering Employer Brand.
  • 12. 10 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT Soft is the New Hard, and Culture Holds the Key In its report Culture as a Corporate Asset, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) posited: While it [culture] is often perceived as a soft issue, it is actually a hard issue—both in the sense of having concrete impact, and in the sense of being difficult to assess. Jamie Gorelick, a partner at law firm WilmerHale and a member of the board at Amazon and Verisign, echoed this sentiment when i4cp asked for her perspective on the increased emphasis boards are placing on corporate culture. “ My clients—corporate boards—want to know if they’re sitting on quicksand,” said Gorelick. “They want to know how well their companies are run, and what the spirit of the people in the company is. This surfaced during the MeToo movement, when many board members said to themselves, ‘I had no idea that was the kind of community that we were supposedly overseeing’.” It is clear that the business leaders i4cp interviewed perceive alignment and strength of purpose, culture, and brand as essential to business risk mitigation and to overall sustainable advantage. Jamie Gorelick Partner at WilmerHale and board member of Amazon and Verisign
  • 13. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 11 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Bob Herz, board member at Morgan Stanley and Fannie Mae, put all this into context: “ The way I think about it—is our culture providing a competitive advantage? Is it enabling execution of our strategy? The flip side is risk, particularly risk related to conduct and risk in executing the business strategy. I think risk and strategy are the two sides of the coin—you have to make sure the culture is both driving a can-do attitude of innovation and speed to market, while also providing guardrails to protect against potential downsides.” Herz served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the aforementioned NACD study. In that report, the Commission wrote: “Boards should set the expectation with management that regular assessments of culture will include qualitative and quantitative information and incorporate data from sources outside the organization.” The i4cp study, Culture Renovation™ A Blueprint for Action, answers that call to action, outlining a blueprint that several iconic companies such as Microsoft, Booz Allen Hamilton, 3M, and T-Mobile have followed to achieve success at culture renovation. In each of these organizations, there was recognition of the indelible linkages of each company’s legacy, overall purpose, organizational culture, and brand, all of which combine to create a new corporate currency that these companies now bank on. Critical—especially during a time of significant change or crisis—is the ability to tune in to low-level signals that matter most. This, according to Irene Chang Britt, board member at Dunkin' Brands, Brighthouse Financial, and Tailored Brands is an organizational muscle that needs strengthening: “ The biggest thing we lack in all organizations is the ability to distinguish between strong and weak signals. There's extraordinary success to be had with those who can sense the weak signals that are going to have an impact over time. Take the development of AI and how much robotics will or will not take over. It's the same about company culture.” Robert H. Herz Board member at Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley, and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Irene Chang Britt Board member at Dunkin' Brands, Brighthouse Financial, and Tailored Brands, Inc. To read more, see i4cp’s report Culture Renovation™ A Blueprint for Action.
  • 14. 12 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT Pressure to Disclose Human Capital and Culture Data is Mounting In addition to pressure from board members, chief executives, consumers, and workers, corporations are increasingly sensing pressure from investors and regulatory bodies to publicly disclose information and metrics that provide evidence of the health of a firm’s culture and effectiveness in managing its human capital. The Investment Community – In 2019, State Street Global Advisors announced in a proxy letter that it would be “focusing on corporate culture as one of the many, growing intangible value drivers that affect a company’s ability to execute its long term strategy.” Earlier that year, in his annual letter to chief executives, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink urged leaders to pay more attention to their human capital management efforts and disclose more information about these practices. Regulatory Bodies – In August 2019, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission proposed amendments to modernize required business disclosures. This includes “any human capital measures or objectives that management focuses on in managing the business, to the extent such disclosures would be material to an understanding of the registrant’s business.” Earlier, in January 2019, the International Standards Organization (ISO) issued ISO 30414, guidelines for internal and external human capital reporting. Corporations are increasingly sensing pressure from investors and regulatory bodies to publicly disclose information and metrics that provide evidence of the health of a firm’s culture.
  • 15. Institute for Corporate Productivity |13 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency While there is no current regulation that requires U.S.-based corporations to publicly disclose data or information on their workforces beyond the customary financials and tactical information such as current headcount, the evidence cited above leaves business leaders pondering how much effort they should be exerting today toward these disclosures. A good start is to become familiar with the proposed International Standards Organization (ISO) 30414 Human Capital reporting standards. i4cp advises that every U.S.-based public corporation prepare now for the eventual requirement to publicly disclose data related to the management of a firm’s human capital. The question for corporate leaders: what and how much data related to culture and human capital to disclose, and to whom?
  • 16. 14 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT Culture Types and the Traits of a Healthy Organizational Culture A significant challenge, as revealed in i4cp’s study on Culture Renovation, is that most firms lack clarity in determining whether the culture is helping or impeding execution of the business strategy. Further, most do not understand which levers to pull in order to reinforce the positive or course-correct the negative. A primary reason is that most executives neglect one vital element of importance: Clarity on the type of culture an organization aspires to reflect in comparison to the culture it actually has. This is imperative in order to define what to measure. Yet, our research found that the critical detail of determining those indicators upfront was overlooked by 90% of organizations that failed in their culture change efforts. Over the years, i4cp’s research has consistently identified the ten most prevalent organizational culture types. They are: • Performance • Agile • Collaborative • Inclusive • Innovative • Learning • Health/Safety • Customer-focused • Quality • Purpose/Mission Most firms lack clarity in determining whether the culture is helping or impeding execution of the business strategy.
  • 17. REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Institute for Corporate Productivity | 15 The type of culture an organization aspires to will also dictate specific indicators it should focus on. Take, for example, an organization that seeks a more collaborative and agile culture. That organization should consider several questions to include in daily or weekly workforce pulse surveys and track progress against those on a quarterly basis. Responses to a question such as “my team or department has a set of goals we work together to achieve” indicate how collaborative a culture actually is, while a question such as “I feel safe to try out new ideas, make mistakes, and learn from past experiences” gauges the true agility of an agile culture. There are also multiple markers and traits of a healthy company culture. The i4cp study on Culture Renovation revealed 12 distinct cultural traits that have strong, positive correlation with the i4cp Market Performance Index and distinguished high-performance organizations from lower-performing organizations. According to that research, high-performance organizations were three times (3X) more likely to indicate (to a high or very high extent) that their cultures are highly collaborative. High-performance organizations were also four times (4X) more likely to describe their cultures as “employee empowered.” And over twice as many of those representing high- performance organizations said transparency is valued in their companies. In contrast, two-thirds of those from lower-performing organizations described their cultures as “top-down, command and control,” which was nearly 50% higher than their high-performing counterparts. The type of culture an organization aspires to will also dictate specific indicators it should focus on. Traits of a Healthy Culture Values execution and accountability 77% 38% 2x Obsessed with delivering value to external customers 79% 54% 1.5x Actively supports diversity and inclusion 70% 43% 1.5x High priority on speed-to-market 66% 45% 1.5x 2x Supports continuous learning and development of all its employees 66% 34% 1.5x Values societal impact as much as financial impact 64% 39% 3x Highly collaborative 63% 23% 2.5x Nurtures innovative thinking and its application 62% 24% 2.5x Views failure as an opportunity to learn and grow 48% 21% 2x Values transparency 61% 28% 4x Employee empowered 45% 12% 3.5x Brings out the best performance in employees 51% 15% 1.5x Is a top-down, command and control organization 45% 66% Organizations with 1,000+ employees. Source: i4cp Low-performance organizations High-performance organizations
  • 18. 16 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT The Critical Role of Leaders in Shaping the New Corporate Currency What employees experience is often a reflection of the behaviors of those with the greatest authority. i4cp’s Culture Renovation™ study found that in 86% of the organizations that reported success with their culture change initiatives, the CEO first met with the senior leadership team to provide clarity on the behavioral changes required to drive and sustain the desired culture and engage them in the vision. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, core to the company’s ability to reestablish its innovative leadership was the ability and willingness of its leaders to exhibit a growth mindset and to be more “learn-it-alls” than know-it-alls. The company trained all employees on the concepts of growth mindset, and reinforced the training by consistently asking employees if they were aware of the growth mindset Nadella sought to instill in Microsoft’s culture. They also asked whether leaders at Microsoft exhibited this important quality. Change requires hard work and an all-in approach. This also requires tough decisions. What employees experience is often a reflection of the behaviors of those with the greatest authority.
  • 19. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 17 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Chief executives and other corporate leaders must be careful to identify and deal with leaders who don’t agree with the new direction. Leadership’s ability and willingness at all levels to embody the desired culture is non-negotiable. It may be necessary to move some of the naysayers and blockers out of the way if they can’t get onboard—even if they are top performers. In the Culture Renovation study, i4cp found that 38% of organizations that had successful culture transformations had replaced senior leaders who were not willing or able to embrace and model the desired culture. David Brandon, chairman of the board of Dominos—the second-highest performing stock this past decade among companies with market capitalizations over $10 billion— underscores the importance of this: “ Leadership style and effectiveness drives culture. It's not only the people you hire and the skills and experience they bring to the organization, but also the mindset and the cultural fit they bring to the organization. Over the course of a long career, I’ve had the opportunity to see leaders who get results through people, and then there are others who tend to get results by going over and/or around people. The great companies with great cultures have leaders who embrace the former and their culture is so strong it won’t tolerate those behaviors from the latter.” David Brandon Chairman of Domino’s, and board member of Herman Miller, DTE Energy, and PetSmart
  • 20. 18 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT Where HR Must Flex its Muscle With the increased emphasis these various stakeholders are placing on the human elements of a corporation, it’s no wonder corporate boards are now placing greater premium on HR expertise. “ The board searches I’ve been part of the last two or three years, in just about every case, among the qualities we've listed as a preferred skill or a particularly strong ‘what counts factor’ is HR experience,” Brandon says. “I believe it’s much more on the radar because that voice around the table and their perspective is going to make your board perform better.” Corporate boards are now placing greater premium on HR expertise.
  • 21. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 19 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Brandon also says that some boards are becoming both more agile and hands-on in how they are collaborating with HR and other talent leaders. “The other thing I've observed is boards are creating—if not permanent committees— ad hoc committees in which they’re assigning two-to-three board members to work with the HR lead and/or the CEO on particular HR related initiatives. The point being it’s not just about recruiting HR folks to join boards, it’s also directing attention from existing board members to important topics such as social responsibility, inclusion and diversity, employee engagement, and culture management. I see far more focus and engagement as it relates to deploying this expertise around the director’s table, which, five or 10 years ago you wouldn’t have seen.” With HR expertise at a premium, the opportunity and onus for HR leaders is high and the call to action is simple: 1. Be attuned to the state of the organization’s culture. Is what is currently being measured providing the right data and information needed to make critical decisions? 2. What areas of the organization are demonstrably supportive of the business strategy and where are there risks to the sustainability of the business? 3. What is being done to drive that critical alignment and how is progress against that tracking? 4. When it comes to capability, what is the organization doing to ready its workforce with the skillset and mindset to drive the business forward? Will the culture of the organization promote or detract from the development and advancement of the capabilities needed in the future? With HR expertise (in the boardroom) at a premium, the opportunity and onus for HR leaders is high.
  • 22. THE BOARD’S-EYE VIEW OF HUMAN RESOURCES ADVICE TO CHROs Six leaders on the insights board directors seek from HR: Jamie Gorelick Partner at WilmerHale and board member of Amazon and Verisign. Boards seek a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the culture… what issues are percolating. Board members want to know what the leadership of the company can do to foster a stronger culture—to address shortcomings and underscore strengths. Providing a real outlet for people is the most important way to affect your culture. Employees know the community in which they operate. So, I think the single most important thing that an HR executive can do is make sure that information is flowing freely, that within the chain of command it is welcomed, that there are avenues outside the chain of command that are robust and real, and that there is zero fear that someone who raises an issue or makes a suggestion will suffer any untoward consequence. David Brandon Chairman of Domino’s, and board member of Herman Miller, DTE Energy, and PetSmart. The HR leader must be involved in virtually every discussion that takes place around the leadership team table as it relates to the strategy and operations of the company. If the HR leader’s voice is not present, critical insights such as the resourcing required to support the workforce, the required level of staffing, and the talent and investment that’s required to carry out the strategic plan might be left behind. Strategies don’t get executed without the human capital in place to make them happen. If the HR leader is not deeply engaged in the planning process every step of the way, then that HR function is being left out on an island, separated from the ongoing strategy planning and the day-to-day operations of the business. And that, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster. Be courageous in keeping your fingers on the pulse of where things are headed. Challenge yourself to contribute insights: ‘Here’s an area we need to explore,’ or ‘There’s strategic advantage in directing attention there.’ The head of HR has to be tuned in and willing to take that information to senior management—and to include advice on how to act on it. Holly Gregory Partner and Co-Chair of the Global Corporate Governance Executive Compensation Practice at law firm Sidley Austin. For each of the last 15 years, Ms. Gregory has also been listed among the Top 100 Influencers in Corporate Governance. 20 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT
  • 23. Robert H. Herz Board member of Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley, and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The HR leader and the HR function have got to be looking at the human asset capability of the company—its ability to deliver on the strategy in terms of the workforce now and into the future. They’ve got to be experts in that. They’ve got to understand and provide input into the whole strategy, and then be able to contribute to the building of those capabilities and to the mitigation of risk. And they’ve got to be viewed by the rest of the management group as a vital strategic partner in that whole process. Increasingly, in most of the organizations with which I’m involved, technological change and disruption are integral to the whole strategy. With that comes the necessity to think about the human talent implications of technology. What are the business’ needs going to be in the next three to five years and beyond? Where are we on that and how are we going to get where we need to go? What’s the talent architecture now, what’s it going to look like in the future? My advice for CHROs is the same I give to all leaders and has two elements: First, provide clarity on how you are dealing with important issues. For example, we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the business, along with the HR organization, needs to be upskilled for this. Are you? Is your team? What are you doing to prepare the organization? Second, remember who you are and what you want, and never let the latter get in the way of the former. The added element for those in HR is to understand the power you have to drive integrity in the organization and make a safe place for all to raise their hand without fear of retribution or judgment. Integrity means doing the right thing even when there is a personal price or risk attached, that means HR as well, even when it is a difficult conversation, is a sensitive issue, or is potentially contrary to popular/or your opinion. I learned this from someone I hold in the highest regard. If we can distill this in every employee in the organization, we have a fighting chance to ensure integrity in all we do. I leave the talent management expertise to you! That should be second nature. Joan Amble Board member of Booz Allen Hamilton, Sirius XM Holdings, and Zurich Insurance, and an independent advisor to the Control and Risk Committee of the Executive Committee of the U.S. affiliate of Société Générale S.A. Lisa Shalett Former Goldman Sachs executive who has served on private and public company boards and founder of a group of women directors called Extraordinary Women on Boards. Boards tend to perceive HR as beholden to the CEO, and as a result, HR might hesitate to be completely honest with the board. Board Directors seek: • A trusted relationship with HR • Transparency • Real insights into the culture (or: insights into the “real” culture, or a better way to say this— what the culture really is) • Relevant metrics—that are clear, identify trends, and help surface potential risks As part of i4cp’s ongoing research into corporate culture, survey data was collected from executives at more than 6,000 organizations worldwide and extensive phone interviews were conducted with more than 20 senior-level business executives, including several members of public company boards. i4cp members can access related reports, case studies, infographics, and more at i4cp.com/kc/culture/corporate-culture. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 21 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
  • 24. 22 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT The Organizational Call-to-Action Successful organizations have proven that the new corporate currency is a formula for overall success. The strength and health of the three elements that comprise this new currency (purpose, culture, and brand) are critical to long term shareholder return. Increasingly, corporate boards are waking up to the importance of governing culture as rigorously as they govern other elements of the organization, and investors are calling for evidence that links culture to performance. These critical stakeholders realize that the new corporate currency is both a risk mitigation tool to prevent the organization from being the next alarming headline and an execution tool for future success. For any organization’s senior leadership team, understanding and agreeing on the right measurements is a discussion that, if it hasn’t happened already, must be a top priority. Organizations and boards should: 1. Have a clear understanding of the culture the organization has and the culture it seeks. 2. Implement mechanisms that enable easy access to and analysis of both quantitative data (e.g., workforce surveys) and qualitative data (e.g., employee sentiment posted to internal/external social media). 3. Define and reinforce the leadership behaviors and attributes that support and impede the organization from achieving its desired culture. 4. At the very least, track, measure, and analyze trending data related to the indicators and measures of the organization’s new corporate currency (purpose, culture, and brand). 5. Review the ISO measures and SEC recommendations in comparison to what the organization currently tracks and measures, in order to prepare today in anticipation of what will be required for public disclosure in the future. By following this guidance and implementing these recommendations, organizations will not only illuminate the hidden iceberg of cultural toxicity and be better prepared for unforeseen crisis, but also chart a purposeful path for long-term smooth sailing.
  • 25. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 23 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency
  • 26. 24 | Institute for Corporate Productivity Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency | REPORT References 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report. Edelman.com Fitzgerald, Maggie (2019). “Here are the best-performing stocks of the decade.” CNBC.com Institute for Corporate Productivity (2019). Culture Renovation: A Blueprint for Action. i4cp.com Institute for Corporate Productivity (2019). The 5 Essential Elements to Manage Continuous Disruption. i4cp.com Institute for Corporate Productivity (2018). Mastering Employer Brand. i4cp.com Institute for Corporate Productivity (2016). Talent Risk Management. i4cp.com Institute for Corporate Productivity (2018). The 3 A’s of Organizational Agility. i4cp.com Mohamed, Theron (2019). WeWork's value plunged more than 80% to below $5 billion last quarter SoftBank says. Here's why that's a staggering drop. markets.businessinsider.com National Association of Corporate Directors (2017). Culture as a Corporate Asset. nacdonline.org Primack, Dan (2016). Zenefits Loses Over Half Of Its Value. fortune.com Schiffer, Zoe (2019). Away replaces CEO Steph Korey after Verge investigation. theverge.com Authors and Contributors Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer Kevin Oakes, CEO Jay Jamrog, Co-founder and Futurist, i4cp Lorrie Lykins, Vice President of Research, i4cp Eric Davis, Creative Director Senior Editor, i4cp About i4cp i4cp is a research and advisory firm that discovers next practices in human capital. Our member organizations rely on i4cp to ensure that their efforts will make the greatest impact on the business today and in the future. Through superior research, peer collaboration, tools, and data, we provide insights that help organizations better anticipate, adapt, and act in a constantly changing business environment.
  • 27. Institute for Corporate Productivity | 25 REPORT | Measuring and Managing the New Corporate Currency Acknowledgements We gratefully acknowledge the generosity and contributions of time and expertise on the part of the following individuals: Joan Amble, Board member of Booz Allen Hamilton, SiriusXM Holdings, and Zurich Insurance, and an independent advisor to the Control and Risk Committee of the Executive Committee of the U.S. affiliate of Société Générale S.A. David Brandon, Chairman of Domino’s, and board member of Herman Miller, DTE Energy, and PetSmart. Irene Chang Britt, board member at Dunkin' Brands, Brighthouse Financial, and Tailored Brands Jamie Gorelick, Partner at WilmerHale and board member of Amazon and Verisign. Holly Gregory, Partner and Co-Chair of the Global Corporate Governance Executive Compensation Practice at law firm Sidley Austin. For each of the last 15 years, Ms. Gregory has also been listed among the Top 100 Influencers in Corporate Governance. Robert H. Herz, Board member of Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley, and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Lisa Shalett, Former Goldman Sachs executive who has served on private and public company boards, and founder of a group of women directors called Extraordinary Women on Boards. Michael Volkema, Chairman of the board at Herman Miller and board member at Wolverine Worldwide
  • 28. Discover your next practice. Learn more at i4cp.com