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Despite everything, employees are still optimistic

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2016 was a turbulent year politically and economically yet employees are overwhelmingly positive that their businesses will succeed in 2017.
Research commissioned by Ricoh from Quocirca and Coleman-Parkes finds that while 91% of employees expect digital disruption, economic uncertainty and political turbulence to change how they work in the near future, 95% also expect enormous benefits for their business.
South African employees also share a wider positive outlook. 64% expect the business they work for to be in a stronger position by the end of the year than it is today. A majority 73% of South African employees believe their business leader is prepared to tackle the changing landscape. And just 5% have no faith in their leader. The remaining 22% are unsure.
Technology, say polled employees, sits at the heart of enabling success in the year ahead. They expect the effects of digital disruption, as well as the opportunities and change that competitive innovation generates, will exert the greatest influence. They also expect automation will free up their time and allow them to deliver more value.
Employees expect their businesses to be more creative, waste fewer resources, and adopt new technologies quicker. Across Europe and South Africa 61% want their companies to use technology to balance emerging changes, such as customer communications, better productivity through collaboration technologies, and digital technologies that simplify business processes.
But the research also divulges a warning. Businesses must remain attractive to prospective talent because employees are afraid they may lose their jobs. Employees seeking new opportunities most value job security, robust financial support, and the opportunity to work for bigger businesses.
“People’s work styles are fundamentally changing,” says Jacques van Wyk, chief operating officer of Ricoh SA. “The way they relate to, engage, and execute their work will impact companies in one of two ways: either they’ll embrace strong fundamental processes to empower employees or they’ll steer well clear of change and straight toward failure.”
Retiring budgets in the face of global economic austerity mean business leaders must enable powerful strategies to cope, deal with, and ultimately best the atmosphere of change that has enveloped the world. Those strategies must focus on the most beneficial long term returns by deploying innovative technologies that foster competitiveness and ennoble efficient, productive, flexible employees in a world of change.