Managing risk in corporate America is challenging enough, but much harder when top business leaders at the company can’t get on the same page. New research from global commerce platform WEX and Ipsos uncovers a significant disconnect on the risks facing businesses when it comes to the challenges posed by inefficient processes—just 42 percent of C-suite leaders see them as a problem compared to 61 percent of senior managers, a group that includes vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and senior executives.
The newly released WEX Trend Report, which looks at the state of business operations nationwide, reveals that leaders overall estimate they waste $2.1 million a year dealing with inefficient processes. However, the survey shows a clear divide in how these burdens are felt within the workplace, with more senior managers saying that business inefficiencies cost them a moderate to significant amount of time (68 percent) and money (56 percent), compared to the proportion of C-suite leaders (51 percent and 41 percent, respectively) who agreed.
“In order to lead a successful business, resolving friction points—which come from both inefficient processes and misalignment between C-suite and other senior decision makers—must be top of mind,” said Melissa Smith, Chair, CEO, and President at WEX, in a news release. “The data shows that despite their extensive impact, inefficient and outdated systems that are dragging down performance and profit are not given the attention and investment they deserve.”
Critically, the study found that in addition to time and money, inefficient systems also impose a toll on employees. A majority of respondents who report employee engagement and retention as a challenge (73 percent) believe that outdated technology is a contributing factor. In addition, over half of respondents who report inefficient processes, systems, or procedures as a challenge (52 percent) say they lead to employee burnout and stress.
Additional findings from the research:
Senior managers think C-suite are overlooking employee needs
While most C-suite leaders (71 percent) see employee engagement and retention as at least a minor challenge, 62 percent of senior managers said the C-suite is not focused enough on improving day-to-day challenges employees face; starkly in contrast to only 44 percent of C-suite leaders who agree.
Broken billing systems are impacting the bottom line and damaging customer relations
Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) VP-senior execs believe that outdated billing and payments systems pose at least a minor challenge to their business. An overwhelming majority of senior managers report spending money (76 percent) and time (80 percent) on issues with payment and billing. In addition, 30 percent of respondents who report outdated systems as a challenge cite knock-on effects—such as loss of trust with a client and lower customer satisfaction—and 15 percent found that these issues impede doing business with new clients.
Executives think billing systems need to be improved
Among those responsible for making decisions about vendors for billing and payment systems, 39 percent say the company is not investing enough to improve those outdated systems.
Download the full report here.
These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of WEX between March 1-14, 2023. For this survey, a sample of business leaders (N = 702) in manager or above positions working in administration, finances, operations, sales, human resources, or other executive functions from the continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii were interviewed online in English.