Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Last week, some interesting pieces of research were published. The Federation of Small Businesses has published “The Tech Tonic” report. This large report included interesting insights and suggested actions for the UK Government. Xero has published findings from a survey about adopting AI amongst small businesses. Alongside the survey, the vendor has published a new guide in the Future Focus series. “Xero’s AI guide for accountants and bookkeepers.” Asana published the State of AI at Work Report.


The new Foundations of Manager Effectiveness Report from Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) found that only a quarter of people say their managers are effective. Only 29% of managers say that their organisation supports them.

The report proposes an equivalent of the Net Promoter Score for managers. It identified 15 possible factors but discovered four key ones:

  • Contact: They support their team’s success through regular, effective 1:1 meetings
  • Recognition: They give at least monthly meaningful recognition that makes employees feel valued
  • Coaching: They provide guidance that helps employees be more effective in their roles
  • Professional development: They support their employees’ personal and professional development goals

Other findings include:

  • 19% of managers say they have never received manager training at their company
  • Men are 26% more likely than women to say they manage people in their role
  • Women are 54% more likely to say their manager never recognizes them

Dr Natalie Baumgartner, AWI Chief Workforce Scientist, says. “Team management has never been easy, but in recent years, managers have confronted almost unending challenges, making their jobs more demanding than ever. From navigating the pandemic era remote work transition to the current climate of hybrid work and lean teams, managers are the frontline of adapting to the new world of work. Our research shows that managers feel unsupported, causing employees in every industry and function to be negatively impacted.

“At a time when productivity and retention are top of mind, inaction has a heavy price. Employees who would not recommend their manager are significantly less likely to report they are productive at work or that they see a long-term career at their company. Manager effectiveness is the ultimate ripple in the pond. If an organization can increase mNPS by 10 percentage points, they will see an outsized improvement in engagement, productivity, and job commitment.”


ADP published its national employment report for August. Private sector employment increased by 177,000 jobs in August, and annual pay was up 5.9% year-over-year.

Nela Richardson, Chief Economist of ADP, commented. “This month’s numbers are consistent with the pace of job creation before the pandemic. After two years of exceptional gains tied to the recovery, we’re moving toward more sustainable growth in pay and employment as the economic effects of the pandemic recede.”


AuditBoard announced the release of their 2023 ESG Maturity Benchmarking Report: Accelerating ESG Transformation. The report found that two-thirds of organizations have not implemented ESG controls. And 60% do not currently perform internal ESG audits. This lack of ESG program readiness puts organizations at risk of potential financial penalties due to non-compliance with future regulations. Including the forthcoming ESG rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Findings included the following:

  • Over 75% of respondents said they currently collect evidence for ESG metrics
  • 26% reported that they plan to begin performing internal ESG audits in the next year
  • 61% reported having a dedicated ESG team or committee with audit, compliance, legal, and/or risk management representatives
  • 90% currently fall within the bottom half of maturity levels for reports and disclosures
  • 46% of respondents reported no dedicated budget allocated for ESG technology or headcount
  • Of those with ESG budgets, only 9% have a budget allocated for ESG program management technology

John A. Wheeler, former Gartner IRM Analyst and Senior Advisor, Risk and Technology at AuditBoard, said. “The AuditBoard survey on ESG maturity reveals an urgent need to align investment with controls and transparent disclosure. As companies face looming ESG regulations across the globe, the integration of ESG principles cannot remain segmented.

“Integrated risk management (IRM) technology offers a pathway to unify these elements, ensuring that businesses are not just compliant, but are leading the way in sustainable practices. By marrying investment with robust controls and clear disclosure, companies can prepare for the regulatory landscape and position themselves as responsible stewards in the global market.”

Global Payments

Global Payments releases its 2023 Global Responsibility Report. The report highlights the company’s initiatives and achievements across its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – or Global Responsibility – focus areas since the beginning of 2022 and its commitment to its team members, customers and communities.

Cameron Bready, president and chief executive officer, stated. “At Global Payments we are committed to redefining success with a continuous improvement mindset and by constantly striving to do better as an organization. This includes driving positive change across our four Global Responsibility pillars of Culture & Values, Environmental Sustainability, Community Impact and Corporate Responsibility. I am immensely proud of the many successes delivered by our team members in support of our customers, our communities, and each other highlighted in the 2023 Global Responsibility Report. Together, we are having a meaningful impact that benefits all of our stakeholders.”

The 2023 Global Responsibility Report is aligned with the SASB and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) frameworks. The report also highlights the company’s commitment to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Kinaxis published its 2023 Global Impact Report. The report highlights the company’s achievements across its core Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) commitments. And its focus on preserving the planet, supporting its employees and advancing the broader supply chain industry.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Achieving Triple A designation from MSCI and top marks from several other rating agencies
  • Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to account for all Head Office electricity use in 2022
  • Maintaining our carbon-neutral certification since 2019
  • Growing women in leadership (director level and above) to 26% in 2022
  • Obtaining a high employee belonging rating (96% feel as though they are an accepted member of their team)
  • Supporting more than 40 emerging artists through free studio time and public performances through our Catapult collaboration

John Sicard, President and CEO of Kinaxis, said, “I am proud of our progress in this year’s Global Impact Report and take tremendous pride in our company’s strong commitment to ESG and preserving the planet. There is no larger consumer of the earth’s natural resources than supply chain, so it is our responsibility to continue to advance our personal commitments as well as those of our customers by innovating in ways that help them meet their corporate goals, while doing less harm. I am confident that our new Sustainable Supply Chain solution will do just that.”


NTT published a study, The Business Case for Social Sustainability, in collaboration with ThoughtLab.

Key findings from the report included:

  • Leading firms in social sustainability see an 11.4% increase in employee productivity and unlock approximately $675 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) across eight countries and five industries
  • 40% of companies integrate social sustainability goals and enforce supplier compliance
  • All categories of companies report an average 8% revenue increase and 10% productivity increase from social sustainability initiatives
  • Advanced social sustainability leaders experience nearly a 10% revenue increase
  • Over 50% of social sustainability leaders expect increased revenue and profitability in the next two years
  • 62% of companies plan to increase social sustainability spending by an average of 6%

Kaoru Asakura, Vice President and Head of Sustainability Office, Corporate Strategy Planning Department, NTT, said, “Now more than ever, businesses are hearing demands from across the value chain for forward-thinking, inclusive and socially impactful operations. This study proves that investment in social sustainability is in the interest of both businesses and the broader society. This is why NTT has set its mid-term strategy with a focus on Innovating a Sustainable Future for People and the Planet.”

o9 Solutions

o9 Solutions published its ESG impact report. The report highlights o9’s sustainability and social responsibility activities, metrics, and results during the 2022 calendar year.

Chakri Gottemukkala, Co-founder and CEO of o9 Solutions said, “It is an undeniable truth that climate change poses a significant risk to both humanity and the planet. Therefore, it is imperative that we scale our actions of responsible stewardship to ensure the health and prosperity of future generations. Leveraging o9’s continued growth and expansion across the globe, our ambition is to become a net-positive business and to leave a positive handprint on the planet.”

Igor Rikalo, o9’s President and COO, added, “In today’s world, sustainability is not just a choice, it’s a responsibility. As a software company, we have the power to innovate and create solutions that not only drive profits but also benefit our planet and future generations. Sustainability is a core part of our business strategy. This means taking a holistic approach, from reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing waste to promoting social and economic justice.”


Qualtrics revealed findings from a recent survey of 1,000 US-based employees at tech companies. It found that after a year of disruption, layoffs, cutback and a return to the office, the lustre has dimmed from tech companies for Gen X but less so for millennials.

  • 68% of Gen X tech workers say that work is not as important to them and achieving their life goals as before the pandemic, with 15% saying it has become far less important
  • Only 38% say their company’s mission and values are more motivating than pre-pandemic
  • In contrast, 49% of millennials say that work is more important to them than it was before the pandemic
  • 30% say that if they had to look for a new role, they would only look for a job at another tech company

Dr Benjamin Granger, Qualtrics Chief Workplace Psychologist, said, “As the industry and economy continue to shift, tech company leaders must renegotiate their relationship with employees. Call it a ‘mid-life crisis’ for tech companies or just one more change brought on by the pandemic years, but there’s clearly a shift in sentiment especially among the older, more tenured employees.”

The report throws up some interesting differences between different generations of workers and those working within and outside tech hubs.

Granger continued, “Living and working in areas dense with tech talent elevates the visibility of how the industry is changing, which can give it an outsized impact on employee perception, both positive and negative. Organizations need to pay close attention to their employees’ needs to avoid attrition, especially for their top talent.”


Research by SAP has shown that banks need to reassess their customer service proposition for both SMEs and consumers. 52% of SMEs are reassessing their bank’s suitability for them. Only 22% of UK consumers are currently satisfied with their bank’s support.

Anuj Kumar, Industry Strategy and GTM lead for Financial Services at SAP, UK, commented, “The message from UK banking customers is clear – providers are failing to deliver the personalised services and support and this is breeding dissatisfaction. The time is now for banks to hit the re-set button and ditch the one-size-fits-all approach to targeting and recognise each segment acts and behaves differently.”

Michael Walsh, Head of Financial Services, UK, suggests, “SMEs are key to the growth of the UK and banks need to re-think how they engage with them. Size, experience of the executive, industry and the businesses own growth ambitions are significant factors driving how they use the Financial Services sector. Typically, focus has been on working capital such as financing, lending and overdrafts. With the ever-increasing digitisation of capabilities, banks need to serve SMEs in different ways. Future focus has to be on helping SMEs access new customer bases with a collaborative ecosystem and networks leveraging emerging intelligent platform technologies.”

The survey throws up some interesting statistics. It discovers what consumers and SMEs expect from their banks.

Kumar concludes, “In times of financial strife, it’s the responsibility of banks to listen and respond to their customers, upgrading their support from both an educational and technology standpoint. Customers demand constant, proactive engagement and reassurance across multiple channels, with content that educates, digital tools that empower smarter financial choices, and advice that’s readily accessible and on-demand. That’s the modern banking experience that the UK has come to expect, and financial services must keep up or get left behind particularly in an era that is seeing a growth in alternative banking service providers.”


UKG published findings from a survey of US manufacturers. There is a positive outlook for H2 2023, tempered by 76% of manufacturers struggling to fill critical labor gaps, and 2 in 3 (66%) said it takes longer to fill open positions.

Kylene Zenk, Industry Fellow, Manufacturing at UKG, said, “Manufacturers understand the gravity of their situation. This is an issue they’ve been tackling for a long time — much longer than the pandemic-induced labor shortages affecting other industries have existed.

“By and large, our research shows most organizations are taking meaningful steps to close the manufacturing skills gap that could immobilize the US economy if left unchecked. Manufacturers understand the assignment and are looking to people-focused initiatives and technology advancements to strengthen recruitment and retention.”

The survey of 300 Manufacturing HR leaders also found:

  • Around 3 in 5 manufacturers reported increased employee turnover (62%) and unfilled jobs (57%) at their organizations over the prior year
  • Most HR leaders say $20,000 to $40,000 is the average cost to replace a skilled frontline employee
  • More than half of manufacturers (54%) said their annual turnover rate is above 20%

Zenk added, “While operational dynamics may prevent all employees from having the same experience, manufacturers do have opportunities to enhance equity at all levels of their organizations. Whether by increasing flexibility to address family and personal needs or empowering frontline staff to learn new skills so they can advance within their companies, small changes can have big impacts on the frontline experience and make workplaces more attractive to skilled talent.”

UKG also published the August 2023 Workforce Activity Report. Shift work decreased by 0.8% in August 2023; the decline mirrored August 2022 activity and historic seasonal trends, and the labour market remains relatively strong as summer ends.


Zoho published its 2023 State of Customer Operations for US Small Businesses report. The study, commissioned by Bigin by Zoho CRM and conducted by the SMB Group, surveyed more than 1,500 small businesses (companies with 100 employees or less) on how they utilize technology and their satisfaction with their current business operations.

  • SMEs determine which CRM to use by ease of use (53%), time efficiency (47%), quick deployment (39%) and value (36%)
  • 42% of respondents said they save 5-10 hours weekly thanks to their CRM
  • Where a CRM is not used, 39% use spreadsheets, 9% use a combination of siloed applications, and 8% stick with manual methods like pen and paper

Mani Vembu, Chief Operating Officer at Zoho, commented, “Small businesses are seeking a CRM system that is cost-effective, efficient, and simple to implement, as indicated by the survey findings. Since 2020, Bigin’s vision has been to bring millions of small businesses online with a simple yet powerful CRM solution that makes the transition from spreadsheets easy. The unique ability to manage all customer operations in one place with Team Pipelines, stronger mobile apps that take advantage of the native OEM features, and extending Bigin’s native capabilities through newer integrations and add-ons are some of our recent enhancements that have helped us gain trust within the small business community.”

Research from the week beginning 21st August 2023



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