Company Culture and Brand Reputation: Lessons from

WMA Blog (14)

If you’ve paid any attention to the news in the last couple months, then you’ve heard about Not because of a great PR campaign or anything – unfortunately, it’s because of their toxic leadership and resulting company culture.

While has been wildly successful, all you can find about them in the news today is how terrible their culture is.

Brand reputation and company culture are inextricably linked. Gone are the days when companies could make a great product or provide a great service and not worry about what was happening behind the scenes.

What caused this change? The usual suspects: Millennials and Gen Z. There are multiple studies, like this one, that dive into what younger generations want from their employers. Gen Z especially wants to work for – and do business with – companies that value diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), create a healthy work environment, and have a social conscience.

This sounds like a long list, but let’s break it down and explore ways companies can make a difference:


According to Pew Research, nearly half of Gen Z are racial or ethnic minorities, so it should be no problem to maintain a diverse talent pool, but this on its own is not enough. Gen Z wants to see representation across the leadership team, too.

People with different backgrounds and experiences bring different viewpoints and skills to the table. DEI should not just be about looking good on the outside but being stronger on the inside.


Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are also important to younger generations. A majority of Millennials want to invest in sustainable companies. Simply making money is not enough – Millennials and Gen Z want to make sure the companies they support are making a positive difference in the world.


While good pay and good insurance are important, Millennials and Gen Z expect more from a company. They want to see companies that value mental health as much as physical health. Even benefits like maternity and paternity leave are hot topics among younger generations as they begin to start their families.

No matter what benefits you choose to offer, it all comes back to how your organization can show care and compassion for employees. When you give employees your best, they’ll often give their best back to you.

Companies cannot sweep corporate culture under the rug or treat it as an afterthought anymore, especially if they want to appeal to a younger workforce and a younger consumer demographic. Organizations must create a culture that cares in order to gain the respect of Millennials and Gen Z.

While no single company can offer everything to everyone, it is important that companies focus in on areas in which they hold influence and start by making a positive difference there.

It’s a big task, but start small and work your way up to bigger changes. And whatever you do, please don’t do any mass layoffs over Zoom.

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