Swiss transparency results face a hit as stakeholder demands rise and Covid-19 puts companies to the test
The 17th edition of the Webranking research found that Swiss results, along with their European counterparts’, have plummeted.
The Swiss edition of Webranking research is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend. To read how the individual companies compare, download the whitepaper below. It evaluates the 54 largest listed companies in Switzerland, analysing what these companies communicate on their corporate websites and how they are working to satisfy the needs of their stakeholders and inspire trust.
The results of the 17th edition of Webranking for Switzerland reveal an unfortunate consequence to what has been a critical year for corporate communications, The average score for Swiss companies has decreased by nearly 4 points since last year (reaching 43.6 points compared to 47.5 last year), marking a departure from a year-on-year increase seen in previous editions. Although still scoring higher than their European peers (the average of the 500 largest listed companies in Europe came at 43 points this year), the cost to transparency remains high.
So why this sudden drop? We can explain this by the research developing more stringent criteria to reflect the times we live in, in particular evaluating companies on how they communicated on COVID-19 as well as whether they provided a digitally accessible experience to respond to the growing need for information to be easily available to all users, including those with disabilities. Few Swiss companies included in our research were able to respond to these needs, leading to a significant drop in their overall performance.
Focus on COVID-19 reveals poor performance amongst Swiss companies
The global context in the face of Covid-19 has challenged companies to adapt and step up the way in which they communicate with their stakeholders. Companies’ ability to communicate on the impact of the crisis on the business, the predicted consequences on the future of the company, as well as what actions were put in place to face the challenges brought about by Covid-19 were examined in thorough detail.
Swiss companies performed relatively poorly in comparison to their European counterparts, with half as many companies disclosing information on the effect of the business in Switzerland when compared to the Europe 500 companies. Nevertheless, Zurich Insurance Group and Novartis are examples of companies that stand out for their efforts in communicating effectively and transparently with their stakeholders on these topics.
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
From rankings to ratings
Webranking’s end goal is not to present a ranking of the best and worst companies, but to encourage a culture of transparency that leads to positive relations being built with their stakeholders. This is precisely why the results are presented in a range of transparency rather than a simple numeric ranking, by dividing the companies into classes of performance. Only one company has been awarded the highest of reputations (5 stars), and two others have entered the second tier (4 stars).
Swisscom was the only Swiss company this year to achieve 5-star results (over 80 points out of 100). Two others have received 4 stars (between 65 and 80 points). These include Sika and Givaudan, which are companies that have often been on the podium. Zurich Insurance Group and Barry Callebaut are also getting closer to reaching a 4-star rating
Over 70% of Swiss companies are part of the Europe 500 ranking (the ranking of the 500 largest European companies by market cap). Despite the high number of companies included, Swiss companies do not stand out particularly. Italian and Nordic companies dominate the list, taking prime positions in the top ten. The German average also stands higher than the Swiss, at about 44.2 points.
Swisscom comes in at 6th place in the Europe 500 list, climbing into the top 10 from 11th place last year. Sika is next, ranking in 13th position, followed by Givaudan in 18th, finishing 7 places closer to the top than last year. Four other companies are in the top 50: Zurich Insurance Group at 34th, Barry Callebaut in 35th, Nestlé in 42nd, Sonova in 46th, and Clariant in 47th.
The bar has been set higher: not only transparency but the ability to create a convincing narrative for company strategy and commitment.
In recent years, Swiss results have become aligned with European standards and of note this year, Swiss companies are starting to stand out on some aspect of corporate communication. The Swiss average surpasses the European one in company presentation in the about us and careers sections, as well as in features and functionalities which is a sign that Swiss websites are user-friendly and accessible. In addition, more Swiss companies disclose research and development projects, a good indication of a company’s investment in value and role in the future of society. However, Switzerland falls behind more often than rises above the European average, especially when it comes to the presentation of a company strategy and investment story, or when it comes to the presentation of their commitment to sustainability.
These are the elements that come into play in the competition for credibility amongst stakeholders, which is at the heart of Lundquist’s flagship research series .trust, the second edition of which will be published in early 2021. Only companies that have been able to prove their commitment towards transparency in Webranking have gained access to our new research series, which this year have amounted to 37 Swiss companies.
We have recently released the 2020 edition of .trust for Swiss listed companies. To take a look at the results, follow the link on the right.
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:
Martina Scapin, firstname.lastname@example.org