Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included MRI revealed that employees are looking for hotel-style amenities within offices to lure them back from home working. Adobe published the Adobe Stock 2023 Annual Creative Trends Forecast. It looked at the trending visual styles and themes set to scale in demand and appeal throughout 2023.
Customer loyalty is not as secure as retailers hope. This was the key finding from research by ActiveCampaign. The study found that only 12% of respondents said big-box retailers exceeded their overall customer experience expectations. The inference is that many may switch to smaller firms. However, SMBs need to improve in several areas:
- 76% of consumers said big-box retailers are better than SMBs at solving their customer experience problems
- 71% said big-box retailers are better at responding to them promptly
ActiceCampaign cites three areas where SMEs need to improve:
- Improve processes to solve customer problems
- Implement solutions to resolve response times
- Manage customer data better and create a 1:1 personalised experience
ActiveCampaign believes its platform can help through automating CRM, which saves time and allows greater focus on customers, and making transactional messages to be engaging and two-way rather than fire and forget.
Jason VandeBoom, founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, commented, “Every small business has its own unique products and services. Therefore, every small business should have its own unique customer experience as well. Loyal customers are going to expect fast response times and 1:1 customer service. As businesses scale, it gets harder to maintain those 1:1 experiences. To do so, they will need to automate routine tasks, including their CRM and email marketing. By implementing automation where this technology shines, humans can focus on talking and listening to their customers.”
Ciphr asked 265 UK-based CEOs and senior managers about what motivates their workforces to be more productive. The responses are broadly in line with what was expected. However, as this was the manager’s rather than the employee’s response, it does not completely align with other surveys. The top five were:
- Pay/salary (40%)
- Bonus/performance incentives (31%)
- Flexible working (30%)
- Healthy working environment (29%)
- Respectful and supportive management (28%)
Commenting on the results, Claire Williams, chief people officer at Ciphr, says, “It’s not surprising to see pay at the top of the list in the current financial climate. However, this research is a good reminder to employers that there are lots of other factors that motivate employees that aren’t pay related, and are great ways to improve engagement and, ultimately, performance, while helping manage salary inflation.”
Ciphr also published a completed guide to onboarding. This useful guide includes details of the benefits of onboarding, orientation activities, the four phases of onboarding and common mistakes to avoid. It is a worthwhile read for all managers.
Cleo released the first annual Supply Chain Jobs Report, including what recruitment strategies tell us about the state of IT innovation and digitalization at supply chain-oriented businesses (manufacturers, logistics providers, warehouses, and wholesalers/retailers) in the U.S.
Key takeaways include the following:
- Supply chain-oriented roles are still highly manual at a time when companies should be digitalizing roles and processes.
- Only 30% of all roles require ERP experience and 42% of managerial jobs require no software experience at all – demonstrating a lack of technology adoption across supply chain facilities and operations.
- The Midwest and Northeast regions are most lacking in technical supply chain roles – signalling increased competition for talent in those regions.
- Companies are not effectively using technology to optimize operations.
Tushar Patel, CMO of Cleo, commented, “These findings clearly point to a deep deficit in supply chain automation at a time when companies can least afford it. Software technology, people, and processes have not come together in a transformational way that has truly permeated supply chain organizations.
“The data indicates that companies are failing to approach digitalization through an end-to-end lens that visualizes and analyses supply chain operations across their internal and external ecosystems. The lack of recruiting for people skilled in modern software will result in organizations struggling to keep up with operational efficiencies – which are desperately needed in an increasingly fierce supply chain market.”
MYOB surveyed 510 Australian mid-sized businesses to identify how mid-sized businesses are doing and what their concerns are. The survey found that 69% have increased revenue in 2022, up from 2021, and 57% have improved profitability.
The immediate response to the cost of living crisis will be to increase pricing, potentially exacerbating the issue with 75% looking to increase prices in the next 6 months. In wholesale and manufacturing, 91% will do so. Cybersecurity insurance has already been bought by 72% of businesses, though it has increased in price over the last 12 months. Of those that do not have it currently, 41% are likely to purchase it soon.
Kim Clarke, GM of Enterprise at MYOB, commented, “Mid-market businesses entered the year feeling bold and ambitious, with more work in the pipeline and business transformation in sight.
“Despite impressive performance this year, our insights suggest mid-sized operators are not resting on their laurels, and are aware of the need to prepare for uncertainty. As prudent and experienced leaders, they are looking to make sensible decisions to maintain their operations.
“Eighty-two per cent of respondents are concerned about the onset of a global recession. This is likely to compound challenges around skills shortages, production, and supply costs, which are the top three reasons given by those planning to increase prices.”
However, many firms are more flexible than ever, allowing employees to work remotely (27%) or in a hybrid way (51%). 58% of those firms believe they are now more productive.
The Qualtrics 2023 Education Experience Trends Report showed there is an opportunity for educational institutions to improve student and employee experiences. While Colleges and universities have seen a bounce back in satisfaction, trust and likelihood-to-recommend post-pandemic, they still lag behind other industries in terms of listening to feedback. 70% of respondents to a survey said educational establishments could improve their listening.
The report highlights 2023 customer experience trends:
- Establish multi-channel feedback approaches, so community members feel heard
- Build trust with equity-driven decisions for greater impact
- Use institutional loyalty to improve brand reputation
- Put community members first to improve satisfaction
It also highlights employee experience trends in the education sector:
- Improve employee satisfaction by aligning pay and performance
- Build employee trust by acting on feedback
- Reward employees for taking risks to fuel innovation
- Provide professional growth to avoid potential burnout
Lee Perlis, head of Industry Advisory for Education at Qualtrics, commented, “Thinking of education as a commodity is a long-standing taboo, but the cost of higher education is continuing to rise and student and family expectations for institutions are growing. This research shows that colleges and universities are at a critical crossroad in their relationship with stakeholders. Those applying the lessons learned in the pandemic to put students, families and alumni at the center of institutional decision-making are helping ensure affinity and loyalty for generations.”
Salesforce published its fall 2022 Giving Report, highlighting its philanthropic initiatives over the past quarter. The quarter included Dreamforce, during which it announced $25 million in new grants to support school districts and education nonprofits across the United States.
During the quarter, employees surpassed 7.5 million service hours, boosted once again across the Dreamforce week. Other initiatives included a Salesforce Run in India, where the company partnered with SankalpTaru and Concern India Foundation to support a tree plantation and girls’ education with proceeds from the run.
In October alone, it matched 86 volunteers with nonprofit projects, 142 customers got a consultation, and Salesforce employees delivered $1.25 million in pro bono value to the sector. The beneficiaries of the pro-bono work included HD Reach, an organization working to improve the care and quality of life of those affected by Huntington’s disease.
Research by SnapLogic looked at attitudes to AI across the UK, US, and Australia. Based on a survey of nearly 1,000 mid-senior management workers within large enterprises it found that
- 54% said they thought using AI would save them time
- 46% said it would improve their productivity
- 37% said it would reduce risk and errors in their work
The report also highlights the challenges employees believe exist, which may not be a barrier as they cite that few people have the skills and there is resistance to Ai within their organisations. Despite only around half perceiving the benefits, 74% of Australians are likely to use AI, 70% of Americans and only 56% of UK employees are likely to do so.
Jeremiah Stone, CTO of SnapLogic, said, “The current business landscape is unpredictable, and that puts pressure on budgets and resources – and ultimately, on employees. Using AI to automate processes and improve productivity relieves this pressure. It’s very encouraging to hear workers say they understand how AI can benefit them in their own role, as enterprises need employee buy-in if they want to make an AI rollout successful.”
UKG published a report titled “We Can Fix Work.” It provides insight into what parents, family members, and mentors are telling children about what they should value in their jobs and employers — urging future generations to let purpose, not money, guide career choices.
The results were stark,
- 46%, including one-third of C-level leaders (29%) in the U.S., would not recommend their company or profession to their children or a young person they care about.
- 38% of employees globally “wouldn’t wish my job on my worst enemy,” — which rises to 45% in the U.S.
Dr Jarik Conrad, vice president of human insights at UKG, commented, “We have to fix work today to inspire a better future for tomorrow. There has been a shift in how people view the role of work in their lives, and some have grown disengaged in their jobs when their workplace falls short on providing a sense of trust and connection. There are many great workplaces where people feel cared for, that they belong, and that their role contributes to success. We need to take the exceptional practices from those organizations to other workplaces around the world, to help people find greater meaning, enjoyment, and purpose at work.”
The report also looks at burnout and found that 64% of employees would switch jobs if they could, while 45% simply don’t want to work. However, for organisations getting it right and looking after employees, the results are completely different, with 88% of employees looking forward to work. The inference is that the problem is less with employees and more with employers.
Conrad concluded, “Whether someone feels they are in just a job, a growing career, or a true calling, everyone can find fulfillment, a sense of value, and success at work. People are looking for organizations to step up and support them across their entire life-work journey so they can have flexibility to put time into what matters most to them, including relationships with family, their health and self-care, and friendships.”
Unanet published its 2022-2023 AEC Inspire Report. The report benchmarks firms and provides details of the challenges AEC firms face. Overall, 2022 was a good year, with 43% of AEC firms reporting 2022 produced extraordinary profits. They are also positive about 2023, with 58% expecting this profitability to continue next year. There are challenges though, with rising costs, supply chain disruption and economic uncertainty concerns. The talent war has not gone away either, with many concerned about retaining and obtaining talent.
Technology is one answer, as firms with a future-ready technology stack demonstrate five advantages over peers:
- Profitability in 2022 and expectations for profitability in 2023
- Recruiting, staffing and retention levels
- Capture rates of new business pursuits
- Ability to leverage data for strategic decision
- Maturity of project and resource management
Akshay Mahajan, general manager, AEC, for Unanet and one of the report’s co-authors, commented, “Plain and simple, it pays to be a tech-forward AEC firm. In turbulent times, tech-forward firms have more tools at the ready to help guide them through uncertainties and work most efficiently with limited resources. This produces better outcomes for their clients, while ultimately benefitting the AEC firm’s bottom line.”