The survey of more than 5,000 participants shows that the role of business in influencing our society is changing. Americans expect more from companies than profits. They increasingly expect businesses to treat their employees fairly, to make a positive impact on the world beyond just selling a product or service, and to use technology in a sustainable, responsible way.
Americans are generally positive about the impact of business, with 63% saying businesses have an extremely or somewhat positive impact on people’s lives, up from 55% in 2022, according to the survey. as a force for good – 88% believe businesses have “a great deal” or “some” power to positively impact people’s lives; however, only 58% say it is very or somewhat effective.
Executives from Citizens Bank, Comcast, Deloitte, Eastern Bank, Liberty Mutual, PNC Bank, Raytheon, Reinventure Capital, Rockland Trust, State Street Foundation and Verizon focused their discussions on key areas of the survey, including:
IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The executives agreed that artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the business world and changing the way companies do business. A Bentley-Gallup poll shows that mistrust among Americans when it comes to artificial intelligenceA majority of Americans — 79 percent — said they trust companies “not much” or “not at all” to treat AI responsibly. These trust levels are consistently low among all subgroups of the US adult population; including gender, race, age, education level, and political party affiliation.
The lack of confidence may stem from the fact that 75 percent of Americans believe that artificial intelligence will reduce the number of jobs in the United States over the next 10 years. This concern is especially high for people without a bachelor’s degree and those who are 45 or older. The future of the American workforce – 18-29 year olds are the least concerned about the predicted effects of artificial intelligence on the labor market.
The talk acknowledged the need for businesses to build trust about AI with their employees and consumers, including the ethical issues surrounding its use.
DECIDING WHEN TO TALK ABOUT POLITICAL/SOCIAL ISSUES
Businesses are increasingly vocal in the issues facing the country and the world. However, this year’s Bentley-Gallup Business in Society survey reveals that fewer Americans want companies to talk about current events. Less than half of Americans (41%) say businesses should take a public stance, a 7 percentage point decline from 2022. Americans are most supportive of businesses that talk about climate change (55%) and mental health (52%). support businesses that take a stand on religion (15%), political candidates (19%) and abortion (26%).
Younger Americans (18-29) are more likely (53%) to want businesses to take a public stance on current events than those 45 and older (35%). The panelists discussed what factors they consider when deciding to address social and political issues, as well as their company’s culture and values.
SUPPORTING THE HEALTH OF WORKERS
American workers is optimistic that employer-sponsored health initiatives can improve their well-being, according to the Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report. When asked to rate the potential impact of six wellness initiatives on well-being, the top three rated positively were employers offering the option of a four-day work week (77%), providing “mental health days” (74%) and limiting workload. employees are expected to work outside working hours (73%). Executives discussed the implications for leadership and HR when considering which wellness initiatives would benefit their employees.