Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Slack published research that found employees feel untrusted by their organisation. Trust is important as it is a factor that contributes towards loyalty and productivity. The research highlights how companies can close the gap. Other research last week seemed to focus a lot on AI. With reports from Action1, Dialpad, and Salesloft all looking at aspects of AI pertaining to the workplace.

Action1

Action1 published its 2023 AI Impact on Sysadmins: Survey Report in conjunction with Sysadmin Appreciation Day. Based on a survey of 560 IT administrators worldwide. It found that 73% of sysadmins are clueless about how to leverage AI for company success.

While they understand the automation benefits, such as log analysis and patch management, they are unsure about its wider use. 63% of IT admins seek additional training for better AI integration understanding. While 47% express concern about being left behind by AI-literate peers.

Mike Walters, President and Co-Founder of Action1, said, “AI holds immense potential to free sysadmins from routine work and enhance their overall productivity. To fully leverage it, companies must allocate resources for identifying application and implementation areas for AI. Given IT departments’ constrained resources and potential fatigue, it’s vital to provide IT admins both with relevant training and convenient tools enabling them to automate current tasks.”

The report provides three recommendations:

  • Embrace a balanced approach: Explore AI’s potential while considering its limitations compared to human expertise. Combining AI automation with human oversight ensures optimized results.
  • Encourage education: Provide IT admins with comprehensive AI training programs to leverage AI effectively and drive organizational success.
  • Bridge the gap: Actively implement AI strategies to align recognition with practical integration, enabling organizations to remain competitive in the digital era.

ConnectWise

ConnectWise published the Service Leadership Index® 2023 Annual IT Solution Provider Industry Profitability Report.

The report reveals another impressive year of revenue and profitability growth, with average approximate valuations being the highest on record. This is the third consecutive year that best-in-class managed service providers (MSPs) had over 20% adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Which is unprecedented and speaks to the high performance of the industry since 2020. This was also the sixth consecutive year that best-in-class VARs improved their profit performance (16.1% adjusted EBITDA).

Peter Kujawa, VP & GM, Service Leadership, Inc, commented, “2022 was an impressive year for TSPs across all Predominant Business Models™ continuing the trend for the third straight year with record revenue and profitability growth. Both best-in-class MSPs and VARs have continuously improved their profitability for three or more years. The TSP industry is healthy, despite recessionary fears.”

CIPHR

Ciphr published further findings from a report on the UK’s cost of living crisis. It found that women were likely to have asked for a raise despite being equally affected by the cost of living crisis. However, women are more conscientious regarding sick leave. With 55% (men 47%) saying they cannot afford to take sick leave. They are also more likely to feel that they are not paid enough (38% vs 32%).

As previous research has shown, it is worth asking for a pay rise. Asking for one means it is more likely that one will be given, according to other research by CIPHR.

The research also looked at the pay gaps in various sectors noting that the mean pay gap in services is 20.5%. With Financial, insurance and real estate activities at 18.7%. Women are paid 7.5% more in construction at the other end of the scale. However, construction is an anomaly, with men generally paid much higher. Ciphr argues that organisations need to close this gap.

Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at Ciphr, says, “Much has already been written about how the salary ‘ask gap’ can contribute to pay inequality. It happens when people, usually women, sell themselves short by accepting a lower salary than they are perhaps ‘worth’, because they perceive the salary they are being offered as fair. Or, as highlighted by Ciphr’s latest research, they don’t ask for a pay rise at all – even if they are unhappy with their wages – maybe because they don’t feel confident, or encouraged, in asking for a higher salary.

“These employees then potentially end up being paid a lower market rate – sometimes compounded over years – than they should be, compared to others with similar skillsets, qualifications, and experience. This isn’t good for them, or, in the long-term, their employer, because people who don’t feel valued are much more likely to be looking elsewhere for a new job. And, until this cycle is stopped, it will keep perpetuating pay gaps.

“The onus is on employers to do more to fix this. As the latest ONS earnings figures show, disappointingly, the gender pay gap is still as wide as ever in many industries. Employers must be held accountable for doing what they can to reduce salary discrepancies – where they see them – within their organisations to ensure that all employees are being fairly financially rewarded for their efforts, and the value they bring to the business.

“Better representation of women and ethnic minorities at all levels, in all roles, is a vital part of driving this change and achieving pay equality. It’s also the best way of attracting and retaining the best employees long-term.”

Dialpad

Dialpad pusblihed the “The State of AI at Work”. Despite rumours, 70% of sales and customer service professionals don’t fear AI will steal their job. ChatGPT is seen as a game change in the use of AI. 76% of respondents noted that they previously didn’t use AI but will now consider it.

AI is generally seen as positive. With 79% of sales and customer service professionals using AI tools at work experiencing a positive impact. Despite the upsurge in AI importance, 84% believe that their company does not have a company-wide AI policy. Does this mean that organisations have not yet considered the ethical use and have no guardrails around their AI usage?

Dan O’Connell, Chief AI & Strategy Officer at Dialpad, commented, “AI has created an all-new technological frontier that is compressing the pace of innovation at a rate we never thought possible. As AI continues to be embedded throughout enterprise workflows, it’s crucial to focus on new opportunities created by this transformation – the potential that it possesses is a must for every business.”

Craig Walker, CEO and Founder of Dialpad, added, “Dialpad has been a responsible leader in the development of AI technology over the last five years, and we’re proud to be the only comprehensive platform with native, proprietary AI across all channels. We’re only at the beginning of this transformative moment for the enterprise. The findings of Dialpad’s State of AI at Work Report further establishes the business imperative for real-time insights that lead to actionable outcomes to enhance experiences and enable the future of work.”

iCIMS

iCIMS released the iCIMS Insights July Workforce Report. The report looks at the state of the labour market in the US and the retail sector specifically. It found that the labour market was cooling off as employers slowed hiring. Application volume has risen by 44% since January 2022. Retailers are also slowing down, with hiring activity down 27% from June 2022. Applications are up 34%. There are now 24 applicants for each opening, 2 below the labour market average of 26.

The report also reveals that Indeed is the most popular marketplace to find a job (61%) compared to Google (19%) and LinkedIn (13%). Rhea Moss, Global Head of Workforce and Customer Insights at iCIMS said, “The overall labor market is finally starting to cool down this summer, and we’re seeing an interesting downturn for the retail sector in a time where seasonal hiring typically ramps up.

“By providing exclusive labor market data, we’re helping retailers to get ahead of the curve this upcoming shopping season and find the right candidates to fill their decreased, yet critical roles.”

Salesloft

Salesloft published the State of AI in Sales research report. It found that 95% of polled executives report their organization is using AI in sales in some capacity. Another 84% say their company has used generative AI in sales in the past year.

David Obrand, CEO at Salesloft, commented, “Generative AI is transforming nearly every industry right now. While it can help sellers draft pitches and write emails with unprecedented efficiency, the real power of AI lies in its ability to help sellers identify the next best action in their workflows to advance deals and improve the customer experience.”

He continued saying, “Backed by data-driven insights, AI can build real-time roadmaps that help sellers take the most important and impactful actions in the moment. This is a paradigm shift that will transform how B2B businesses engage with their prospects and customers, ultimately driving more relevant interactions and consistent revenue outcomes.”

Despite the shift to AI, burnout amongst sales teams is increasing. With 86% of executives noting an increase in burnout or turnover during the past year. There is also much wasted time, with 40% of sellers still using 4-5 applications to do their job. In addition, administrative tasks such as data input into CRM and internal meetings are taking up considerable time for 29% of sales teams.

Salelsoft aimed to address this challenge with the launch of Rhythm. Powered by a proprietary, patent-pending AI engine called Conductor AI; it aims to provide the next best actions for sales teams and reduce wasted time.

Vedant Namboodiri, Global Sales Operations Manager at Cin7, commented, “Watching my reps go through their Rhythm workflow is fantastic. They just run through their steps one by one, one click at a time. Rhythm has been incredibly valuable in reducing the time our reps spend on admin and increasing the time they spend with customers. It makes me stop and think, ‘Where was this when I was a seller?’”

SD Worx

In a survey that is of interest outside its demographic of Belgium, SD Worx looked at the removal of a requirement for a medical certificate. A new law was passed that means that employees do not have to present a medical certification within three days, for three times in a given year.

However, SMEs appear to be against the law, with 7 in 10 Belgian SMEs not in favour of it. There are exceptions with the smallest SME, with less than 5 workers requesting fewer certificates.

Jordane Houdart, SME advisor at SD Worx, “This survey shows there is very little interest in extending the abolition of the medical certificate to three times three days a year. Although this promises less administrative work, it would also mean a possible loss of nine additional days per worker per year, in addition to leave and illness with certification.

“The current medical certificate omission at three times three days a year already makes personnel planning more complex, especially in production environments with manual workers. Employers then have to look for last-minute replacements. To ensure the continuity of production or services, it is important that workers immediately inform their employer of their illness.”

Sidetrade

Sidetrade published its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, showcasing its commitment to corporate sustainability.

The report outlines the following commitments:

  • Sidetrade’s journey towards sustainability through control of its carbon footprint
  • Driving innovation and investing in talent to achieve collaborative excellence and growth
  • Securing data for a secure future by ensuring digital responsibility
  • Building sustainable, ethical and transparent relationships to lead with trust and maintain ethical business practices

Olivier Novasque, Sidetrade CEO, commented, “Cash culture, productivity, financial performance, visibility and predictability in business today are taking on a new dimension. These values can only blossom harmoniously if they are integrated into an essential reflection and a global approach consistent with the societal and environmental responsibility of the economic world. I’m convinced that by integrating these values, we can create a sustainable environment where business success is aligned with the well-being of society and the preservation of our precious planet.

“As the inventors of tomorrow’s world, high-tech companies have a special responsibility. Sidetrade wishes to contribute to the development of a learning, stimulating and pleasant working environment for its employees, while striving to be exemplary and helping to promote this responsible attitude within our economic environment.”

WalkMe

WalkMe revealed the results of a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) Professional roles survey to mark International DAP Professional Day. The report looks at the demand for digital adoption professionals and their salaries across the US, the UK and Germany.

The key highlights from the report included:

  • Digital adoption professionals, on average, are being offered 20% more than IT managers (average salary $90,402). 52% more than HR managers (average salary $71,553) – suggesting that people in these roles who develop digital adoption skills can open up an even more lucrative career. As with any profession, salaries range based on experience.
  • American businesses offered the highest salaries ($177,994 on average) to digital adoption professionals – more than three times the average U.S. IT worker salary ($49,625).
  • Across all the job posts WalkMe studied, IT companies (24% of all roles), Financial Services & Banking (21%), and insurance (10%) were the industries most interested in hiring digital adoption professionals.
  • U.S. companies are by far the most prolific advertisers for digital adoption roles. Responsible for 74% of all reviewed positions – compared to 18% in the U.K. and 8% in Germany.

Adriel Sanchez, Chief Marketing Officer, WalkMe, commented, “The salaries being advertised show that digital adoption has entered the mainstream – many businesses have digitally transformed in recent years, and now they need to put these tools to work. IT and HR professionals in particular should sit up and take notice of the findings, as they show that specializing in digital adoption could prove a springboard to the next stage of their career. Businesses investing in digital adoption will be in line to realize great ROI from their digital investments, attract and retain talent, and drive overall productivity.

“Awareness of digital adoption is growing, and in turn, businesses are looking for the right mix of skills that will give them an advantage. As the earliest adopters it’s natural that most openings are in IT. But we will see more organizations from FS, retail and other verticals looking for people with the right skills, as businesses in every industry realize they need to unlock the full potential of their technology investments.

“The results also indicate that the majority of businesses looking to drive digital adoption recognize the central role of digital adoption platforms, from onboarding to training and the roll-out of new applications. The right platform will give professionals and their employers complete visibility over the apps being used across the organization, and help drive great experiences in one single pane of glass – ensuring businesses get the most from their investments in digital adoption professionals.”

Xero

Xero published the small business index reports for New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK.

In New Zealand, the June quarter averages included:

  • Job growth averaged 6.9% y/y for the June quarter
  • Sale growth averaged 3.9% y/y for the June quarter
  • Wages growth averaged 3.5% y/y for the June quarter
  • Small businesses waited 24.2 days to be paid in June
  • The Small business index rose 22 points in June to 140

Xero Country Manager Bridget Snelling summarised, saying, “This Index result is driven by the strong jobs growth figures, while the reduction in rising wage pressure is giving small business owners room to breathe.

“Overall, the XSBI results reflect a level of resilience in Kiwi small businesses, despite the weaker sales data being consistent with New Zealand’s recession. Despite this, the road ahead is still challenging for our small business owners. They continue to walk the tightrope to balance books and maintain their bottom line while still providing for their staff and themselves.”

In Australia, the Xero Small Business Index averaged 120 points in the first five months of the year – above the 112-point average of the last three months of 2022. There is an easing off, though, with sales growth slowing to 8.0% year-on-year (y/y) in the three months to June. Down from an average of 14.4% y/y over 2022. Wages grew slower – 3.1% compared to 3.6% in 2022. Jobs growth also weakened, rising only 2.3% in June, compared to 3.4% in 2022. Payment times remain at a stable 23.0.

Louise Southall, Xero Economist, commented, “Today’s data highlights that the combination of persistent inflation and ongoing high-interest rates are hitting household budgets and not leaving much room for extra spending in small businesses. But on a more positive note, small businesses are still selling more goods and services than they were a year ago, and owners are likely to welcome the news, at least in the short-term, that wage pressures have eased.”

In Canada, sales rose by just 0.4% Y/Y, despite the economy growing 2.2% in March. Small businesses are also waiting longer to be paid,. With an average of 31.1 days for payment in Q1, up by a day from a year ago.

In the UK, the index rose by three points, boosted by a slight increase in jobs, up by 1.1% from a year ago. Wages also increased by 3.6% in June, and sales revenue rose 7.6% in June. This is tempered by the high inflation rate, an average of the trailing three months in June of 4.4%. Late pay payments also rose by an average of 0.7 days to 29.9, from 29.2 in 2022.

Alex von Schirmeister, EMEA Managing Director, Xero, commented, “The combination of inflation, rising costs, and squeezed consumer spending makes for a very challenging environment, and it’s unacceptable that payment times to small businesses have continued to grow.”

Research from the week beginning 17th July 2023

 

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