Are business leaders out of touch with feelings of staff?

While the majority of directors of firms say they have pivoted their business model since the Covid crisis began, the bigger concern should be lack of cohesion between directors and staff.

Ninety-one percent of Irish company directors say their business models have pivoted since the onset of the pandemic a year ago, according to a study by Arkphire.

The study, co-sponsored by Citrix and Dell Technologies, also reveals that 56pc of businesses say that their businesses are facing less competition.

“The differences between director and staff views on many key areas suggests a lack of cohesion and understanding between business leaders and their employees”

The study, carried out by Censuswide among 200 senior directors and 500 office employees, worryingly indicates how many directors and leaders may be out of touch with how employees are really feeling.

The great divide

Man sitting at a computer table.

Paschal Naylor, CEO of Arkphire

When it comes to key areas areas such as sales team motivation, business development, management of customer satisfaction, customer relationship building, customer communications coaching and mentoring, the differences couldn’t be more stark.

In terms of business development, on the whole, directors were much more upbeat around performance, with 53pc of directors noting that their company’s business development capabilities had improved, compared to only 28pc of staff who agreed.

When queried about the motivation levels of sales teams to speak to customers, 62pc of directors felt this had increased under remote working arrangements. Conversely, only 26pc of staff felt the same.

When asked to assess their company’s ability to innovate and be creative under remote working arrangements, 57pc of directors felt this had improved, compared to 33pc of employees.

Regarding their company’s ability to manage and assess customer satisfaction, directors were bullish, with over 60pc feeling this aspect of the business had improved under remote working conditions. Staff were less enthused, with 30pc recognising an improvement in this regard.

In assessing the strength of relationships sales staff have with customers when not able to meet face to face, 53pc of directors felt this had improved under remote working arrangements, while only 24pc of staff agreed. Only 11pc of directors felt this had worsened, while 26pc of employees felt this had worsened.

When questioned about how the pandemic had impacted their company’s ability to monitor and coach sales team members, 62pc of directors felt this had improved with remote working, while only 27pc of staff agreed.

The effectiveness of communications between the company’s head of sales and the sales team showed up significant differences, with 60pc of directors feeling this had improved in the remote working era, with only 27pc of employees agreeing. With regards to the ease with which contact can be made with prospective customers who may be remote working, 56pc of directors felt this had improved, compared to just 28pc of staff.

When questioned about employee job satisfaction, 62pc of directors felt this had improved under remote working arrangements, while only 34pc of staff agreed

“The survey shows the extraordinary adaptability of Irish companies in flexing their business models to embrace the new opportunities and manage the constantly moving challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Paschal Naylor, CEO of Arkphire. “The differences between director and staff views on many key areas suggests a lack of cohesion and understanding between business leaders and their employees.

Arkphire was recently acquired by $3bn US digital transformation player Presidio for an undisclosed sum.

“Right now, there is constant transition in how we conduct our business lives. Ongoing review and refinement of how we all conduct business is required now more than ever. The ability of our teams to engage effectively with one another and with customers, both current and prospective, is the life blood of any enterprise. It is so critical that we are all equipped with the necessary technologies to do this effectively.

“The timely launch of our digital workspace innovation lab service this year is geared towards enabling businesses to leverage innovative solutions tailored to their business sector, and specific business needs.

“As the business landscape returns to a more regular rhythm this year, Arkphire can help guide the long-term strategies of customers. Working with world-class partners like Dell Technologies and Citrix, we look forward to helping customers match their extraordinary business model pivots with digital transformation that improves organisation cohesion and communication, and ultimately business performance,” Naylor said.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 19 March 2021