What To Do About Russia And Ukraine

Talk about surprises. We may have found the issue that brings people together in this country. Ukraine and Russia.

It’s not easy to watch the Russian Federation indiscriminately bomb cities and families, and CEOs are taking notice. As of March 10, more than 300 global corporations have chosen to discontinue business operations in Russia, and the list keeps growing. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a well-known Yale faculty member, is calling out those who remain, creating a sort of “cancel culture” for those who stay silent. (Consumer brands like Mondelez, General Mills, and even Subway appear to remain.)

While I won’t advocate my position on this topic, it’s clear that senior leaders are worried. We had four CHROs reach out to us this week to discuss how they safely shut down operations in Ukraine, and today I talked with SAP executives who have taken a strong position globally.

In many ways, companies have no choice. We all have employees in Europe, many of whom have relatives, friends, or associates in Ukraine. And if you do business in Poland, Romania or Austria you have to realize that these countries are adjacent to Ukraine and may be impacted directly.

And this is bringing Americans and Europeans together. A study by Morning Consult (2,100 American respondents) found that over 90% believe the US should support Ukraine and over 80% (Reuters poll) are willing to tolerate higher gas prices as long as the US stops buying oil from Russia.

What does this say about corporate culture?

When the chips are down, employees value people over profit. Despite years of effort trying to demonize businesses for unfair wages, greedy profit motives, and lack of interest in the environment, suddenly the business community is coming together.

I, for one, am inspired.

Additional Resources

Citizenship On The Rise: What This Means To Business and HR

Have We Failed Black America? Its Now A Time For Corporate Citizenship.