Corporate Mission

HSBC, the global banking giant, is to slash 35,000 jobs. Its profits have plummeted to a mere £10.3 billion. That’s £10,300,000,000 in 12 months. My heart goes out to those poor shareholders. I looked up its mission statement, a document all great capitalist enterprises now seem to possess:

‘We want to achieve good results in a way that treats our customers fairly and helps to strengthen communities and ensure a properly functioning financial system. Our values are central to achieving these aims.’

‘We are:

‘Dependable: Standing firm for what is right, delivering on commitments, being resilient and trustworthy…Empowering others…listening, treating people fairly, being inclusive, valuing different perspectives…Connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other. 

Can you spot any irony here, as the firm’s work force nervously await their interviews on the top floor? If not, try this one:

‘Caring about individuals and their progress, showing respect, being supportive and responsive… 

As the P45s whizz off the corporate printers, careers stall and families leave their homes, I image there are several thousand folk for whom these sweet sentiments sound even hollower than they do to a casual observer like me. Big business can carp on about how it cares for the environment, loves its staff, values the individual, etc, as much as it wants. But its bottom line is always profit. I’ve banked with HSBC since the nineties; I’ve always found them pretty good. I can’t say they ‘care about my progress’; rather they want my account to be in credit and my mortgage to be large, albeit manageable. Don’t be fooled by mission statement guff. Profit and loss are the only words with real meaning in the corporate world. Churches now have mission statements. I’ll find a few corkers and report back. Watch this space.

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay