Why mid-market business leaders should take confidence from their employees in this world of change

Recent headlines underline the huge shifts occurring across Europe. Whether it’s digital disruption or economic uncertainty, business leaders must be prepared to take a stronger leadership approach than ever before. Not only will organisations need it, but employees will expect it.

In the UK, the triggering of Article 50 represents a focus point of the economic uncertainty expected across the continent. Of course, this is just one of a series of rapidly evolving issues that businesses must respond to. Regulatory change will be another challenging area as the UK exits the European Union.

Across Europe, however, optimism rules overall employee sentiment – especially in the mid-market (businesses with 50-500 employees). Research commissioned by Ricoh Europe found that only 8% of these employees expect to change job and just 12% believe they will have fewer career opportunities in 2017.

It’s also interesting to note that in a time of major change, technology will continue to develop and present new opportunities. The same research shows that 62% believe their employer should do more to use new technology and processes. Mid-market business leaders must see this as a clear reason to embrace innovative technology and drive positive change.

This focus on technology is timely, too. A new report released by PwC charts the rise of automation in the workplace, and the impact that this could have on jobs. Employees, however, actually welcome the impact of AI on businesses.

The research we commissioned found that 57% of mid-market employees across Europe said automation presented a large or moderately positive opportunity, while only 3% believed it was a big threat. The figures quite clearly demonstrate that employees are excited for the opportunity that technological change will bring – and so they should be.

Mid-market business leaders should take heart from the fact that 58% of employees are confident their company will be in a stronger position by the end of the year than it is now. It’s important that mid-sized businesses – the powerhouses of the European economy – drive change in an era challenged by technology and economic shifts. Business leaders should be aware that their employees are ready and willing to embrace new technologies, and trust them to navigate the complex challenges ahead.

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