Note: some of the linked articles below require an FT subscription to read
In the swim
The FT reports that US swimwear maker, Speedo, and other companies, ended their sponsorship deals with US Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte after he allegedly lied to Brazilian police about being robbed at gunpoint. Speedo’s US arm said: “We cannot condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.” For Learning & Development professionals, the issue raises important questions about how and when to protect the company brand. Tennis champion Maria Sharapova, for example, retained her sponsorship deals despite failing a drugs test. Are such decisions made according to objective criteria, or based more on the strength of public reaction? And how can companies prepare for such eventualities?
Four Brexit scenarios
Risk analysts continue to struggle with the business implications of Brexit. Given that the outlook will remain hazy over the near future, how should company strategists try to assess the risks today? A good starting point would be to consider several possible scenarios. In this article, the FT has helpfully provided four: a hostile divorce, a clean break, an amicable transition or a change of heart. It’s a simple but effective framework that could assist executives in developing a strategic view on such areas as international expansion plans, hiring EU expats or just resourcing the compliance department. Bear in mind that the probability of each scenario will shift as EU negotiations evolve.
Interpreting developments in the world’s most important emerging market has never been so important for foreign investors. A recent FT analysis of what is driving China’s economic policy also provides invaluable learning and development insights. For example, the article looks at who is deciding policy (and which media outlets communicate the ruling view). It raises questions about whether China’s leadership is willing and able to institute key economic reforms—and what kind of reforms. It considers how policy initiatives such as anti-corruption campaigns fit into wider political trends. And it touches on how these developments are affecting consumer demand—a key concern for many investors. (Links require FT.com subscription)
Deutsche Bank whistleblower
FT video: Recent top stories including a Deutsche Bank whistleblower turning down a multimillion-dollar award.
Eric Ben-Artzi, a market risk analyst, hit the headlines after refusing to accept a US Securities and Exchange Commission reward for blowing the whistle on false accounting at Deutsche Bank where he worked. What can learning and development professionals take from this story? Apart from the philosophical question as to whether large financial rewards distort the motivations of the whistleblower—a question that Mr Ben-Artzi appears to have sidestepped by refusing to accept the money—companies might also reflect on whether their own internal compliance systems are designed to achieve the ethical outcomes that they really seek. You can read his own account on FT.com. (Link requires FT.com subscription - video free to view)
How to work when your boss does not care
The most recent annual Edelman Trust Barometer, produced by the public relations company, showed that large numbers of workers no longer trusted the company they worked for. In Japan, only 40 per cent trusted their employers. In France it was 48 per cent and 57 per cent in the UK. In the US, nearly two-thirds of employees trusted their companies but that has to be set against other downbeat US surveys.
FT couminist, Michael Skapinker, argues that employee disenchantment has costs beyond poor customer service: absenteeism, shoddy work and high turnover. Read his article on performance management (requires FT.com subscription).