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Do you ‘walk the talk’ or ‘talk the walk’?

We will be looking at two approaches 'walking the talk' and 'talking the walk' and discussing their meanings in an organisations perspective.
7.3
There are many lessons for businesses on how to ‘walk the talk’. Consumers and regulators have expectations that a company will do what it says it will do and their intent signals how they will behave in the market. Transparency of reporting is an important way for companies to report to stakeholders about what they are doing. Taking this approach is more likely to build reputation. But when a business fails to be authentic or it engages in greenwashing, they risk the loss of trust in their brand. Businesses should adopt a continuous learning approach inside and outside the organisation as they embark on the journey to become sustainable.
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Some tips a business can consider include provide evidence and examples of changes or improvements that helped in reaching sustainable goals. Build trust with stakeholders by showing them how goals are being met. One way of building trust is have the goals verified by reliable third party sources. Show that the corporate social responsibility and the human resource goals are moving the business forward through continuous improvement. Ultimately, the reputation of the business and its ongoing survival depends on being open, transparent, and building trust. Do what you say you will do, learn to improve as you go. This will assist you on the journey to sustainability.
Several regulations and conventions have been created aimed at controlling and monitoring the accuracy and transparency of corporate statements. This has been requested by commercial stakeholders. Understanding the importance of the principles behind major conventions, as well as their weaknesses (e.g. implementation), seems to be fundamental to answering the questions:
  • Do companies transparently report what they are doing?
  • Or are companies just focused on doing what they promised to do in the last report?

Communicating internally in the organisation and externally with partners and stakeholders is important to…

Do what you say – Walking the Talk

In an attempt to respond to these questions, many people are concerned with whether (sustainable) organisations are keeping their word, and are in fact turning good intentions and appealing promises into real practices. This is commonly known as ‘walking the talk’ and reflects the integrity of an organisation. It contributes to building its image as a reliable organisation in the public’s eyes. Consistency is the key factor for reliability in that organisation. However, regardless of the quality of existing regulations, and the value of ‘walking the talk’, the real gap seems to be that this approach does not incorporate the concept of transparency for that organisation.

Say what you will do – Talking the Walk

The critical issue in such ‘sustainably aware’ times, is not only doing what is written in the reports but also understanding what is reported. This approach is called ‘talking the walk’. From this perspective, questions such as: How much of what has been done is actually disclosed? And to whom? provide the focus of the analysis.

‘Talking the walk’ best practice communication is an important and effective way to accurately convey an organisation’s actions internally and externally to partners and stakeholders. Talking the walk means communicating to a range of different audiences in ways they will understand the intent, and content, while allowing for diverse cultural and political views that may affect how an audience interprets a message. Still, businesses need to be careful not to overstate what they will deliver on, nor ‘greenwash’ what they are doing. Walking the talk raises important questions about how effective the corporate social responsibility and green HR processes are, and the commitment of the organisation to maintain and continuously improve on them.

Reflection
This about the businesses you been involved with and whether they had any green HR strategies.
Consider how successful they were in reaching their goals.
Did you ever detect any any ‘greenwashing’?
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Business Futures: Sustainable Business Through Green HR

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