An organisation’s staff is considered to be the single most important asset to a business, closely followed by the organisation’s ability to be profitable and having an effective strategy in place, according to participants in this year’s Tony Carey Meetings Programme.
The programme, sponsored by Carey Olsen, puts together two senior business people from different Guernsey companies to share views on a range of issues including how to get the best out of employees, keeping customers satisfied and the changing face of business.
This year 30 participants, representing 15 companies, including members of the local financial services, legal and hospitality industry, took part in the programme.
The final session, on 13 November 2012, brought all the participants together to communicate the discussions which came out of the participants’ sessions.
The initiative was set-up to mark the memory of serial entrepreneur, consultant and prolific public speaker Tony Carey, who died in 2009. The programme was initiated by Tony Carey’s son, Andrew, who developed it further with Elaine Gray, Carey Olsen Of Counsel. Also on the organising panel were Barry Cash, director of the Chamber of Commerce; as well as Mark Palfrey and Martyn Mann, who are both committee members of the Guernsey branch of the Institute of Directors.
Andrew Carey said: “The purpose of the meetings programme is to put a framework in place for business leaders in Guernsey to share ideas, experiences and best practice with others in the island’s business community.”
“Bringing people who work in different sectors together gives participants a new perspective and we hope that they will be able to continue to build on their relationships in the future.”
Advocate Gray said businesses were still feeling the effects of the economic downturn when it came to strategy.
“The feedback indicated that many local businesses are focussing their strategy over a shorter period than had previously been the case. In view of the continuing economic uncertainty, however, participants agreed that an organisation’s strategy should be flexible and able to adapt to changes in markets and personnel.”
Mr Palfrey said the discussions revealed that an organisation’s staff were the most important asset of a business.
“Around 65% of participants felt that staff were motivated by financial reward schemes such as shares and bonuses and it appears it is important that organisations reward staff and recognise their successes as well as actively encouraging them to develop their life skills as well as professional skills to create a more motivated workforce.”
Increasing income was seen as more important than reducing expenditure by 70% of participants.
Mr Cash said that businesses need to look after existing customers.
“Businesses often feel compelled to attract new customers when they should be placing greater emphasis on working on the loyalty of existing customers,” he said.
According to 63% of participants, developments in, and ease of access to, information and communications technology (ICT) provided businesses with a competitive advantage. However the emergence of social media was seen as both an opportunity and a threat.
Mr Carey said: “Participants recognised that social media enables an organisation to raise its profile and engage in a dialogue with both existing and future customers and staff. However there was some concern about the potential loss of working hours if staff are using social media.”
52% of participants reported that an organisation’s board should be responsible for the final decisions concerning its social media and ICT strategy.
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