Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was the most talked about topic in December 2021, according to new research from the Worldcom Public Relations Group. Retaining talent had the second-highest level of leader attention in Worldcom’s Engagement Monitor, but saw the second-largest decline in leader confidence since November—down 1.33 percent—showing a continuing decline since September.
The Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI) is the first AI-driven ‘living’ global market research that tracks topics getting the most attention from 100,000 global business leaders. The latest results show which issues are uppermost in their minds and how their confidence levels have changed since November.
Time to run a proactive internal communications campaign that focuses on bringing the Purpose for the organization to life for every employee
Leaders’ focus on DEI and retaining talent highlights the need for leaders to have a completely transparent policy on how they treat their people—and be certain that the behavior of all leaders and managers supports it. The fact that leader confidence in retaining talent had the second-largest decline since Novembers shows that concerns about the Great Resignation are very much alive. This is reinforced by the fact that retaining talent had three times the level of engagement as attracting talent.
Worldcom experts recommend a proactive internal communications campaign that focuses on bringing the Purpose for the organization to life for every employee. Analysis by Engagement Multiplier shows that shared purpose is a significant driver of loyalty and business performance. For example, businesses where employees scored purpose over 75 out of 100, experience retention 4x higher than businesses where the score is less than 50.
Time to provide clear and simple updates on the organization’s approach to hybrid working and employee mental health and wellbeing
In December, business leaders’ focus on employees increased compared to November. But the increase masks other changes related to specific employee issues. For example, confidence in employee mental health and wellbeing saw the fourth largest increase in confidence since November (up 1.04 percent). This may be based on more organizations returning to pre-pandemic working styles. However, hybrid and flexible working confidence saw the biggest fall in confidence since the previous month (down 1.71 percent). In addition, the rapid rise of Omicron and the impact this has had on work patterns will increase the pressure on employees who are seeking more certainty in their lives.
“Worldcom believes ‘Long Covid’ will apply to mental as much as physical wellbeing and that employers should train their line managers to look out for its effects across the workforce by having regular check-ins with employees,” said Todor Janev, chair of The Worldcom Public Relations Group, in a news release. “We also recommend that leaders continue to provide clear and simple updates on their approach to hybrid working, as part of their proactive Internal Communications Program, if they want their employees to be engaged and performing at their best.”
Time to review global communications strategies so that brands can perform at their best in all the territories where they are represented
The economy, and therefore the commercial side of running a business, saw a slight increase in leader attention. This was matched with an increase in confidence in handling customers. The level of engagement for global trade agreements and tariffs also increased—up almost three times since November. This indicates that leaders are beginning to take a more international perspective as they prepare for a return to some levels of normality.
“This increased interest in commercial factors should flow through into a global communications strategy for the business so that leaders can be certain that their brand will perform at its best in all the territories where it is represented,” said Todd Lynch, managing director of Worldcom, in the release.
Time to ensure that crisis preparedness is constantly updated and that there is consistent communication to reinforce best practice behavior
Confidence in crisis management saw the second-largest increase in December (up 1.92%), perhaps due to higher vaccination levels promising a path back to normality. However, the latest crisis for the UK government over a drinks party in May 2020 shows that leadership behavior is under constant scrutiny. As a result, leaders will need to ensure that their crisis preparedness is constantly updated and that there is consistent communication to reinforce best practice behavior.
The Worldcom Confidence Index is the world’s largest monthly study of what the C Suite is talking about. And it is the only global study that shows the change in confidence across a range of important business topics. The global results for the month of December can be seen here.