The Support Gap

Tomorrow's Business

So we’re back. Well, golf and property porn are at least.

Less important parts of the economy to follow, slowly.

How that re-opening goes depends on two big things, it seems to me: 1) The progress of the virus. 2) Whether workers back bosses, whether they believe in them.

The evidence so far is not that encouraging. A report this week from Karian and Box surveyed more than 76,000 employees and found that a third have no confidence whatsoever in the ability of business leaders to navigate the crisis.

There is a clear “support gap” – a big difference between what staff need and what they get.

This is clearly an internal PR problem for big companies. Their own staff do not believe in them.

Furloughed staff might feel largely forgotten and may need persuading that their employers are deserving of any special effort.

According to the Karian and Box report half of workers lack motivation and 42% feel anxious. Those don’t sound like conditions that lead to an economic bounce back.

Business leaders do know that they need their staff to be right behind them if they are going to have a chance. They also know, if they are honest, that they don’t tend to listen to their staff very much.

If they don’t know how they feel, they can’t really make them feel any better.

Perhaps one upside of all this will be that internal corporate communications get a fresh look. That it stops being about staff surveys designed to make the CEO feel good and becomes a serious focus on employee well-being.

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