Insights from the hot-seat: Georgia business research unveils high risk, higher reward for responding to societal expectations

ATLANTA, April 29, 2021 – As Georgia businesses sit under a microscope for stances on social issues, new research reveals heightened expectations – and a high likelihood of consumers and employees to act – based on how businesses speak about issues and demonstrate character, according to goBeyondProfit, a statewide alliance of CEOs.

ThegoBeyondProfit Research Report: Navigating Rising Expectations surveyed employed adults and senior business leaders in March. The insights may prove valuable to companies across the country regarding potential losses and gains of employees and consumers based on alignment with company values and character.

 “Corporate generosity is no fad; its importance and business value soared through the global pandemic,” said goBeyondProfit President Megan McCamey. “Consumers and employees are more likely to act on this, and executives are embracing it, demonstrating more empathy and learning how to speak out when values are at stake.”

Some key findings:

  • CEOs feel heightened expectations to be a force for good. Senior leaders in Georgia (84%) feel increased expectations and the vast majority of those (90%) characterize this elevated pressure as a positive opportunity vs. negative pressure. 
  • Executives are expected to speak up. Employees (91%) and senior leaders (89%) expect executives to share their point-of-view about sensitive social issues. Highest backlash triggers revolved around values, while a 32% said they’re likely to act negatively if the opinion is just performative. Forgiveness for mistakes, as cited by more than 50%, came when executives admit mistakes, try to understand others’ perspective, and show willingness to learn and evolve.
  • Consumers and employees are responding. A full 73% of consumers have changed their behavior based on a company’s actions. 41% of Georgia employees have changed their employment preferences based on a company’s behavior, ranging from avoiding employment (44%), quitting a job (42%) or even becoming disgruntled employees looking to leave their job (20%).

The research also points to where businesses in Georgia, and perhaps nationally, are going in the months ahead. Almost all (96%) of Georgia executives plan to maintain or be more generous than previous years, in spite of the business challenges faced in 2020.

For interviews with goBeyondProfit experts about these insights on Georgia businesses, please contact: Tyler Jacobs (

goBeyondProfit is a statewide alliance of business leaders committed to corporate generosity and improving people’s lives. The surveys were conducted between March 1-29, 2021 and included 298 senior executives (95% confidence level; error range of +/- 5.68%) and 605 employed Georgians 18+ years of age (95% confidence level; error range of +/- 3.98%.)