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Irish Business Leaders Struggling to Balance Demands of Employees, Customers and Citizens

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Irish Business Leaders Struggling to Balance Demands of Employees, Customers and Citizens

Irish Business Leaders Struggling to Balance Demands of Employees, Customers and Citizens
October 26
12:19 2018

Irish business leaders are struggling to cope with the demands of the three groups they need to serve in order to thrive: employees, customers and the wider society. The majority of Irish organizations (60 percent) currently prioritize the needs of their customers over those of employees (51 percent) and society as a whole (28 percent), according to a global study commissioned by Fujitsu. But 62 percent of leaders admit they are struggling to balance the expectations of all three sets of people at once, which is a concern as organizations are also aware of the influence each group has on their success.

Reflecting the struggle to balance all three groups and understand the connection between them, 55 percent of leaders believe that the happiness of employees is intrinsically linked to their organization’s success and 66 percent say unlocking employee creativity is vital for growth. Trust is a major challenge identified by Irish business leaders; when analysing the customer relationship 76 percent believe that trust is an important factor and worryingly, 57 percent of Irish leaders admit that customers mistrust businesses more so today than just three years ago.

When looking at the factors leaders believe will define their success, 64 percent cited “achieving financial growth” as most important, while the need to have a good reputation (57 percent) is also deemed to be vital to success. The majority of business leaders also recognise the need to be able to rapidly respond and adapt, with 68 percent saying the business agility will be critical for future success.

To help them adapt business leaders across the world are looking to digital technology with 68 percent stating that digital technology is vital for harnessing business innovation at their organization, while a further 74 percent say digital technology has already improved products and services they provide.

Tony O’Malley, CEO at Fujitsu Ireland, said: “The business world has transformed dramatically in recent years with organizations across all sectors feeling the effects of this change. Irish organizations are required to serve and positively impact all three core audiences; their customers, employees and, increasingly citizens and wider society. From our survey we found that Irish business leaders prioritize customers above all else but know that, to ensure sustained success, they must find a way of delivering for all audiences- a challenge they believe can be met by unleashing creativity across the business and utilizing the full power of digital technology.”

The importance of making a positive impact on society comes through strongly in the study, with 68 percent of Irish leaders saying it’s important to their organization that they are trusted. But coming through even more clearly are the challenges organizations face in achieving this. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents believe that society has become more critical of the business community over the last three years, while 74 percent admit their organization could be doing more to positively contribute to society However, highlighting that leaders struggle to see the connection between influencing employees and customers in order to change society, (43 percent) of respondents state that they do not believe that their organization can make a big social impact. With an eye on the challenge ahead, 53 percent of leaders know that, to be successful in the future, they need to change their organization’s approach to have a positive influence on the world.

When exploring what they need to help them address this challenge, many pointed to the need to utilize digital technology, something 51 percent of leaders say will be vital to helping them have a more positive impact on society in the coming years. While a further 53 percent connected the dots between the need to foster the right culture to make such an impact on the wider world, stating that “building and maintaining a creative and collaborative culture is key to having a positive influence on society.”

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