Inside Business: Staff are the poor relations

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The Independent Online
Senior executives believe programmes to change company culture have brought improvements in performance but have also met resistance and fallen short in such areas as employee communications, according to a survey by Proudfoot, the management consultants.

Anecdotal evidence has suggested as much for some time. More revealing is the finding in last week's report that directors feel that they are not making the best use of employees.

The situation is particularly bad in Britain, where only 16 per cent of directors in the MORI survey considered they made good use of a resource often touted as "our greatest asset". But even in top-placed Holland just 44 per cent of executives felt they were making the best use of staff.

More than 500 directors and senior vice-presidents were selected for the survey covering industries at the forefront of change, such as financial services, communications and courier services, and pharmaceuticals.

Half identified culture change as the largest upheaval their company had faced in the past three years. Sustained competitiveness was said to be the main challenge facing companies. Malcolm Hughes, the chief executive of Proudfoot, said: "Companies have made great strides in the last few years in improving business competitiveness through the use of formal systems and culture change. But the research shows that many companies are still not making the very best of their resources, particularly their people - something they can ill afford to do in the increased drive for competitiveness."

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