Business Leaders in Singapore Struggle to Balance Demands of Employees, Customers and Society – Almost Half have Lost Great Staff
- Global study commissioned by Fujitsu explores organisations’ relationships with their employees, customers and society, how vital each group is to achieving success and how culture, creativity and digital technology influence business success
- Business leaders worldwide feel most responsible for employees (60%), followed by customers (55%), with the wider society (37%) as the third priority
- Unlocking employees: While 68 percent of leaders in Singapore stated that the happiness of employees is intrinsically linked to their organisation’s success, almost half (48%) admit that they have lost great employees who felt stifled and frustrated
- Trust is a major challenge identified by businesses in Singapore when analysing the customer relationship – 88% believe trust is important but more than half (52%) of Singapore leaders admit that customers mistrust businesses more so today than just three years ago
- Two-thirds (66%) of Singapore leaders believe that the society has become more critical of the business community over the last three years
- The role of digital technology comes across strongly to achieve future business success across audiences
Reflecting the struggle to balance all three groups and understand the connection between them, two-thirds (66%) of leaders believe that employees have an increasing influence on their business and 73% say unlocking employee creativity is vital for growth. However, 74% also feel that making a positive impact on society will be the key to their organizations succeeding in the future. And 80% state that the organization must always put the customer first in order to be successful. This tension is further highlighted when looking at the factors leaders believe will define their success, one in two (54%) cited “achieving financial growth” as most important, while the need to have a good reputation (45%) and innovate new products and services (35%) are likewise deemed vital. The majority of business leaders also recognize the need to be able to rapidly respond and adapt, with 80% saying that business agility will be critical for future success.
Business leaders in Singapore, among the respondents surveyed, feel the most duty to improve the lives of their employees (68%), closely followed by their customers (66%) and their wider society (30%). Two-thirds (68%), which is higher than the global average, of Singapore leaders admit the difficulty to balance the expectations of all three audiences.
Mr Wong Heng Chew, Country President, Fujitsu Singapore, comments: “People have always been vital to business. The survey findings show that over the last few years, businesses have shifted their focus - where once, success felt very much hinged to the customer, it is increasingly clear that employees and citizens within society play a big role as well. Future business success will be driven by knowledge, creativity and trust, supported by digital technology advancements and an evolved business approach with people at its heart.”
Key Highlights for Singapore
Singapore reflects a similar trend to other regions – that business leaders prioritize employees (68%) above customers (66%) and the society (30%), but understand that to ensure sustained success, they need to find a way to deliver for all audiences.
Business leaders believe these factors define their success – achieving financial growth (78%), having a good reputation (50%), and maximising the potential of and creating new opportunities for employees (40%).
The role of digital technology comes across strongly across all three audiences. 84% believe that digital technology is vital for harnessing business innovation at their organisation, while a further 76% say it has already improved products and services they provide. 78% of leaders believe digital technology has positively impacted the working lives of their teams, and 68% feel digital technology has enabled employees to be more creative. When it comes to innovative tech, 72% of Singapore leaders (higher than the global average of 61%) believe AI will transform the services and products they offer customers. More than three-quarters believe that digital technology has improved customer service at their organisation as well. In order to evolve and better impact society, while 64% state that digital technology will be vital, the majority (56%) worry that society will react negatively to how technology is automating some job functions.
- Empowering and Trusting Employees
People play a huge part in a business’ success, as 68% of Singapore leaders state that the happiness of their employees directly affect it.
Being collaborative (60%) and innovative (54%) are the top two employee types that companies value as important to their organisation’s success. While most Singapore leaders believe that their staff have the tools needed to be creative (82%) and collaborative (68%), almost one in two (48%) however admit that they have lost great employees because they felt stifled and frustrated.
Nearly half (42%) of leaders did not feel confident that their organisation is adept at unlocking employee creativity. Challenges cited by business leaders that limit the potential of employees in their organisation are: too much focus on day-to-day tasks and too little on employee development (52%), limited opportunities for growth and development (34%), and limited chances for employees to contribute new ideas (38%).
In order to foster employee growth and development, 56% of the respondents have established manager or leadership development programs, 50% have put in place mentoring or reverse-mentoring programs, and a further 44% run skill-based training.
- The Customer Relationship Evolves
As leaders feel the pressure to deliver for the three core audiences, they are also caught in an ongoing battle for deliver more progress to customers, at a lower cost, while coping with a growing lack of trust.
While 74% of leaders believe that the relationship between their organisation and its customers has improved over the last three years, they feel that the customer relationship is defined by price (80%), or the expectations to be more innovative in the service delivered as well as how they work with them (74%).
Most business leaders (88%) believe that trust is an important factor in the customer relationship, but 52% admit that customers mistrust businesses more so today than three years ago. 70% of business leaders are confident that they are well-positioned to meet their customers expectations. To adapt to their customers’ needs over the next 10 years, one in 2 (50%) pointed to digital technology investments to improve business operations and efficiencies, as well as services to customers.
- Impacting society positively
Singapore leaders feel increasing expectations to be seen to positively contribute to society, with two thirds (66%) believing that the society has become more critical of the business community over the last three years. Despite this, more than half (56%) of leaders admit that CSR initiatives are a nice-to-have, but not vital to success. That said, 70% of leaders do say that making a positive impact on society will help their organisation succeed in the future.
Close to half (46%) of organisations believe that they have contributed more to society over the last three years. Among them, areas where they have increased their involvement include not-for-profit initiatives (78%), innovating products and services that have a positive effect on society (48%), and taking steps to protect customer data (42%).
Notes to editors
Online resources for Singapore
Fujitsu’s “Co-creation for Success: Unlocking Creativity, Knowledge & Innovation” report
1This quantitative research was carried out in August 2018 by independent research company Censuswide, surveying 1,936 C-Suite decision makers within mid to large sized businesses across public sector and transport, financial services, retail and manufacturing.
Survey sample size per country:
US – 155
Australia – 150
UK – 156
Germany – 153
Spain – 150
Nordics – 150
France – 154
Portugal – 51
Italy – 151
Ireland – 53
Japan – 154
China – 152
India – 156
Hong Kong – 51
Singapore – 50
Thailand – 50
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US $40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
About Fujitsu Asia
Fujitsu Asia was established in Singapore in 1997 to provide leadership in business development, technology innovation and customer support as regional headquarters for the Fujitsu group of companies in ASEAN and was subsequently established as the Asia region headquarters in 2014. Building on Fujitsu’s three decades of experience in the region and with a pool of highly skilled engineering talent, Fujitsu Asia is dedicated to providing comprehensive integrated IT-based business solutions that deliver tangible business value and enable customers to meet the challenges of the new global economy. Fujitsu Asia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. For details, please visit: http://www.fujitsu.com/sg/
Date: 07 December, 2018