More than half of South African workers want their companies to put new technologies to work faster, so that they can be more efficient (53%); and they want their employers to use them and other resources more creatively (52%).
Those are just two of the results from research by Quocirca and Coleman-Parkes on behalf of Ricoh that sought to investigate the impacts of digital disruption, economic uncertainty, regulation and governmental policies, and the skills and talent gaps.
“The trend in South Africa is similar to Europe but more powerfully focused on speeding up deployments of innovative technologies that can help resolve issues around the four driving issues behind our rapidly changing world,” says Jacques van Wyk, chief operating officer of Ricoh SA.
“European employees, on average, value more creative use of employees and other resources highly, just as their South African colleagues do. But adopting new technologies quicker is lower on their list. They prefer instead less wasteful use of resources which South African workers find third most important.”
A solid 38% of South African workers believe that more rapidly deploying innovative technologies to help deal with the issues wrought by our changing world will actually help companies grow more strongly in their home markets.
Positive local growth could be critical for South African companies. According to Stats SA, the country’s GDP contracted 0,3% in the final quarter of 2016.
New results for the first quarter of 2017 will be released early in June. Financial commentators in the media also note domestic companies forecasting they will battle to deliver growth as consumer confidence dips amid linked political and economic uncertainty.
Those seeking growth through trade with the rest of the continent also currently face tough times.
Although the South African government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is pushing to boost export capacity, it finds growing resistance from African trade partners seeking to redress the trade imbalance of roughly R300-billion exports versus R70-billion imports.
South African employees (35%) believe that more innovative research and development will help their organisations benefit from the currently changing global landscape. At least 32% also see that a stronger core business proposition, giving customers a compelling reason to buy from them, will also aid their cause by promoting efficiencies and allowing them to be more productive.