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  • Writer's pictureAlan Shoebridge

Leaders take a stand on issues that matter

For regular users of social media, sharing our beliefs and opinions is something we’ve grown comfortable doing during recent years. A major change that I’ve noticed so far in 2017 is that many of the companies we work for– through key leaders – are becoming more comfortable doing that as well. With this summer’s conflux of controversial politics and natural disasters, this trend has become even more pronounced.

Prior to last year, it seemed that most companies – especially large corporations – generally refrained from publicly commenting on controversial issues and instead mostly worked behind the scenes to advocate. There are probably a number of reasons for this change, but at least one stands out as especially positive to me: You quickly realize how well your personal values align to your company’s mission and core values.

Checking for value alignment

When looking for a new job, understanding the company’s mission and core values is always one of the first clues you have about the potential fit with your beliefs. However, a company’s mission and core values are typically written in aspirational terms. Reading a leader’s opinion on a controversial issue leaves no doubt as to whether your beliefs will be aligned.

This month, I’ve been pleased to see Providence St. Joseph Health proactively addressing the issues of the day. Messages from our CEO, Rod Hochman, ranged from taking a stand on changes to DACA to supporting those affected by natural disasters, both near and far from where we work. The statement on DACA drew a clear connection to organizational values:

“Why does an organization like Providence St. Joseph Health care so much about this issue? We care because it’s a matter of social justice – one of our core values. It’s also at the heart of Catholic social teachings, which call us to honor and respect the life and dignity of every human being, including undocumented immigrants.”

In addition, it called out the potential impact on the organization in human terms:

“At Providence St. Joseph Health, we are proud that 147 of our caregivers are “Dreamers,” or individuals covered by DACA. They play a vital role in the health and well-being of those we serve, contributing their gifts, energy and skill to many of our communities, especially in California, Oregon and Washington.”

Hochman's sentiment was shared by CEOs and leaders from numerous industries across the country. According to CNN/Money, "Apple's Tim Cook said Trump's decision wasn't 'rooted in American values.' Warren Buffett and executives from Amazon Google, GM and about 400 other firms reacted similarly. In fact, the six largest companies in the U.S. stand opposed to the president on DACA."

Supporting those in need

Responding to Hurricane Harvey, the organization’s support for those affected and how we could help was immediately shared, including the dollar for dollar matching of employee donations. More than $400,000 has been raised so far.

Seeing a company’s mission come to life takes shape in so many ways, but sharing opinions and thoughts widely via social media puts a stake in the ground. That might not always be comfortable for all employees of a company, but for many, it’s a welcome development.

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