Transparency has never been more important for companies: it is a key building block for trust in times of crisis
The findings from the 19th edition of the Webranking research, covered exclusively by L’Economia del Corriere della Sera, reveal that Italy has struggled to keep up with higher demands for accessible communication and communicating in times of crisis.
The Italian edition of the Webranking research is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend. To find how individual companies compare download our whitepaper below. It evaluated the 122 largest listed companies in Italy to see what they were communicating on their corporate websites and how they are working to satisfy the needs of their stakeholders and inspire trust.
Performance of Italian companies impacted by Covid-19 pandemic and focus on accessibility
The evaluations for this year’s edition of Webranking took place in what can only be defined as a strange year. As the protocol reflects the major communication trends, two important aspects were added to the research:
- How Italian companies communicated during the Covid-19 emergency, compared to their European counterparts and;
- If they took into account the ever-growing need of presenting digital information in an accessible way for users with hearing and visual impairments?
Through a protocol that includes nearly 250 criteria, Webranking evaluates transparency in the communication of financial, corporate governance, sustainability data, and overall company information. All this while taking into consideration the real expectations of stakeholders, which have been assessed thanks to surveys conducted every year.
All companies have been impacted by the Covid-19 emergency, and in some way or another, reacted promptly to the crisis. As the new requirements towards a more inclusive communication that considers also disruptive events in our protocol show, only those companies that had already established a good level of transparency for some time were able to communicate a vision of the future and give concrete indications of the consequences of the crisis on the future of business.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of being credible in a moment of crisis. This requires responsibility and a commitment to provide complete and transparent information for all stakeholders, in order to create and maintain trust.
Joakim Lundquist, CEO Lundquist
Best improver: Banca Ifis is the best improver out of all companies assessed by Webranking 2020-2021
Five companies have improved more than ten points, and Banca Ifis leads the pack, with an impressive 34.4-point increase, followed by Illimity, Iren, Intesa Sanpaolo and Covivio.
More companies earn 5 stars, a sign of excellence
To move away from a simple numeric ranking, last year we introduced star ratings, the stars represent the range of transparency and by dividing the companies into classes of performance, we have already seen an improvement compared to last year. Eight companies have now reached excellence and have been awarded the highest of reputations (5 stars, over 80 points out of 100), and fourteen have entered the second tier (4 stars).
Our 5 star companies are Terna, Snam, Eni, Generali, Poste Italiane, Hera Group, Italgas and ERG which are all companies that have often excelled in their corporate communications and shown continuous commitment towards transparency.
Disappointing performance: Companies included in the STAR segment are expected to do better
Out of the 122 companies in the research, forty are included in the STAR segment which has stringent admission criteria in terms of transparency, leadership, dynamics, resistance, and resilience. These premises should make them more susceptible to succeed in Webranking, however, their overall performance has not met the expectations, with an average score of only 30.1 points compared to the entire Italian sample’s average score of 39.7 points.
Only four companies have obtained excellent results: Amplifon and Mondadori have improved their excellent performance of the previous years, while Banca Ifis and Gruppo Iren have risen numerous positions, placing itself in the top 20, together with IGD which has resisted the downwards trend this year.
Surprising indeed is the rather weak communication towards investors and sustainability stakeholders, areas in which the best companies should excel. The same goes for the information in the Careers section that should address the information needs of job seekers in order to attract the best talent in a competitive environment.
How to qualify for .trust: the research for companies that have tackled the fundamentals of transparency.
The .trust research analyses the ability of companies to generate trust in their own stakeholders and supporting the business through digital communication. We start from the assumption that trust is supported not only by a clear identity but also by how a company responds to economic, social, and environmental challenges and is projected towards a path of transformation, with concrete actions and innovative and sustainable business projects. The research represents the divide between companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to transparency and solid digital communication and the rest of the market. To enter the .trust research you must satisfy one of the following conditions:
- Obtaining more than 50 points (a 3-star transparency rating)
- Improving the transparency of communications after the closing of Webranking in September until May 2021
- Being a listed company that is not part of Webranking but would like to be evaluated for inclusion.
How Webranking can help you to improve
The Webranking analysis allows you to define solutions to improve your digital presence, understand digital trends, compare to peers, generate internal engagement, and identify pathways for future improvement.
For further information about the research, to receive the highlights with the score per areas, and to order a tailored, interactive report, please contact:
Barbara Bella, firstname.lastname@example.org