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Entries in Surveys & Polls (5)


The Results Are In: Business Performance Predictions for 2015

In December, we asked about your business performance predictions for the new year, and according to the results of our poll, there’s a lot of optimism surrounding 2015.

Of those who participated in the poll, 46% expect to see exponential business growth this year, while 31% expect their business performance to remain steady, but unchanged from 2014. And, 17% of respondents said they believe they would see a decrease in business volume, which is up from last year.

Another 6% of respondents selected the “Other” option and submitted their own predictions, including:

  • Uncertain, but hopeful
  • Will experience additional growth, but only in some areas of business
  • Soft economy ups and downs throughout the year, but no substantial growth

Year-over-year results
This is the third year we’ve asked this same question, and the overall trend has been more or less positive, with a most notable decrease in the number of respondents who expect to see a slowdown in business performance from year to year.

Business Performance Predictions for 2014:

  • Expect to see exponential growth – 50%
  • Expect to remain steady, but unchanged – 43%
  • Expect to see a decrease in business activity – 7%

Business Performance Predictions for 2013:

  • Expect to see exponential growth – 43%
  • Expect to remain steady, but unchanged – 31%
  • Expect to see a decrease in business activity – 26%

Significant obstacles to success are looming
While the overall trend for the past few years has been positive, there are many challenges that businesses are being forced to address that have the potential to derail the forward momentum.

Bersin by Deloitte, a business services and research company, recently released their “Predictions for 2015” report that hits on many of the key trends that have been making a significant impact on business, and will likely become even more significant in the year ahead.

A few key insights from the report include:

1. Employee engagement and retention issues will continue to be a major challenge

“Low engagement today is a significant business risk. In today’s transparent job market, employment brand and employee engagement have become synonymous. If people are unhappy at work, then they are likely telling others—making it harder to hire good people. So, a focus on engagement is a high priority everywhere.”

2. Workers are overwhelmed, and it’s time to take more significant steps to address it

“Deloitte’s global human capital trends research shows that more than two-thirds of all organizations believe that their employees are “overwhelmed” with too much information, too many projects, too many meetings and phone calls, and an always-on 24×7 work environment.”

3. Skilled workers are at a premium, and will continue to be a major driver of competition

“Almost every research study we perform (and most of the ones we read) talks about the scarcity of critical skills in the workforce—this problem never seems to go away. As technology and business trends evolve, professionals at all levels have to continuously reskill themselves to stay current and relevant.”

You can download Bersin by Deloitte’s full “Predictions for 2015” report here.

What are your predictions for the new year? What are the biggest obstacles standing in your way? Let us know in the comments section below.

Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
by  on January 15, 2015 in Executive InsightsSurveys, Polls, and Infographics 


The Results Are In: Companies’ Biggest Roadblocks to Finishing Strong in 2014

In October, we asked what you anticipated to be your company’s biggest roadblocks to finishing strong in 2014. According to the results, with 19% of the votes, “outside influences (i.e. regulations, competition, economy, etc.)” is weighing heaviest on the minds of business leaders as we head into the end of the year. In second place, 16% of respondents said “lack of skilled workers” would be their biggest roadblock, followed by “insufficient staff” at 14%.

The rest of the results are as follows:

  • Poor leadership (13%)
  • Turnover and retention issues (11%)
  • Disengaged workforce (11%)
  • Unclear goals (8%)

Another 8% of respondents chose the “other” option and submitted their own roadblocks that they anticipate being an issue for their companies, including:

  • Weather/cold and snow conditions
  • Soft sales numbers
  • Cash flow shortages
  • Endemic favoritism
  • Supplier quality issues

The Skills Gap is Taking a Toll
Of the top three responses to the poll, two are directly related to the growing skills gap—lack of skilled workers and insufficient staff. In fact, according to a recent CareerBuilder study on the skills gap:

  • 81% of employers say it’s at least somewhat difficult to fill job vacancies
  • Some of the top causes cited as contributing to the skills gap include:
    • Education gaps in particular areas (55%)
    • Gaps in on-the-job training (53%)
    • New/shifting technologies (48%)
    • Outsourcing of job to other countries (48%)
    • Gaps in expectations about wages (47%)
    • Lack of knowledge about potential career opportunities
  • 61% of employers have hired a person who does not meet the requirements of the job

You can download the full CareerBuilder report here.

So, What Do We Do?
While it’s a question with many different answers, one that most business leaders can agree on is there needs to be a greater emphasis on education and training programs that better prepare people for the kind of jobs that are available.

According to the CareerBuilder study:

“Academia must also aid in the effort to close the skills gap. Academics need to create pathways of communication with employers who are likely to hire their graduates. These relationships can be valuable sources of information concerning specific skills employers need, and academics can use this information to integrate changes to their program requirements with the intention of graduating truly marketable candidates.”

More detailed insight into the benefits – and increasing need – of education programs to address the skills gap, are highlighted in the Express Employment Professionals white paper, “Caution: College May Not Be for Everyone,” which explores the effects of the skills gap and the promise of Career Technical Education programs.

Have you experienced a skills gap in your workforce? What are some ways you’ve addressed your need for skilled workers? What trends do you see for the future if something isn’t done to close the skills gap soon? Let us know in the comments section below.


The Results Are In: Your Biggest Triggers of Workplace Stress

In April, we asked our readers about their biggest triggers of workplace stress, and with nearly 2,100 votes, the results show a few interesting trends. According to the poll results, the number one trigger of workplace stress is “lack of/poor leadership” with 17% of the vote, followed by “long hours/increasing workloads” in second (15%), and “poor work-life balance” in third (11%).

The rest of the results were as follows:

  • Poor working environment/company culture (10%)
  • Inadequate pay/benefits (9%)
  • Concerns about job security (9%)
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement (8%)
  • Poor relationships with co-workers (7%)
  • Inadequate job training (6%)
  • Work is uninteresting or not your chosen career (3%)

Nearly 4% of respondents chose the “other” option and cited additional triggers of workplace stress, including:

  • An environment of favoritism
  • Excessive micromanagement
  • Co-worker absenteeism
  • Government regulations and mandates

Effective Leadership is the Key to Success

Leadership development is an important part of building and maintaining a successful business. So, the fact that poor leadership is the number one trigger of workplace stress is a concerning issue. If you’re plagued by leadership issues, these articles may help shine some light on a few solutions and help guide your efforts.

You can also check out this video series by workforce performance and communication expert Amanda Gore for even more insight.

What are some of the ways you’ve addressed the workplace stress triggers above? What are some of the leadership development programs you have in place? Let us know in the comments section below.


The Results Are In: Your Attitude Toward Setting New Year’s Resolutions and Goal Setting

In our January question of the month, we asked about your attitude toward setting New Year’s resolutions, and the results show that a majority of you are motivated to make a positive change in 2014.

According to the poll, 28% of respondents said “2014 is my year! Nothing’s going to stand in my way!” Another 27% were slightly less “gung-ho,” but none the less focused on making a positive change in the new year and answered, “Resolutions are a great start, but I know I’ll need help staying focused.” Slightly more than 8% of respondents admitted that their resolutions would likely only stick for a few weeks.

Somewhat surprisingly, 31% of people who responded to the poll flat out said “New Year’s resolutions are pointless,” which for some people may be true. However, there is a lot to be said about the power of a well-written, strategically developed goal to make a positive change.

Goal Setting helps you focus
People generally don’t go around performing random tasks without any kind of agenda. From moving a business forward to simply staving off boredom, there’s always going to be some kind of motivation behind everything we do. The most important function of a well-thought-out goal is to act as a beacon leading the way to positive change and success. When you set well-defined, realistic, and attainable goals, you’re giving yourself a specific target to work toward, which makes it much easier to focus your energy and resources in the right direction.

Goal Setting helps you stay accountable
Whether they’re detailed through a series of spreadsheets, charts, and memos or declared with a giant handwritten banner hung across the breakroom wall, goals provide a means to maintaining accountability. One of the best tactics to hold yourself and your team accountable to a specific goal is to share it. By building a cheering section of co-workers and colleagues, you’re stacking the deck in your favor making staying on track that much easier.

Goal Setting gives you a reason to celebrate… and a reason to set another
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with achieving a lofty goal. All the hard work and elbow grease has paid off and now the spoils of victory are yours. It’s an incredible feeling, and one that only helps provide the drive to set your next goal. In fact, even indulging in a few morale-boosting, mini-celebrations as you reach key milestones along the way to achieving your overall goal can be very beneficial to maintaining focus and accountability.

How do goals help drive positive change in your life? What mechanisms and tactics do you have in place to aid your goal setting process? Let us know in the comments section below.


The Results Are In: What Do You Look for Most in a Job Candidate?

The Results Are In: What Do You Look for Most in a Job Candidate?


Home Sales Continue to Rebound

For the sixth straight month, the Teranet House Price Index increased in August 2013, showing that the housing market is bouncing back from a slump that began in July 2012. The index looks at 11 Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City, to get a coast-to-coast view of how the overall housing market is fairing in Canada. According to Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic, August home sales were up nearly 13% in 2013 over the same period in August 2012, with average home prices rising near 7%. Large markets like Vancouver are leading the resurgence in the housing market. In August, Vancouver home prices increased a staggering 52.5%, while Calgary grew by 27.5%, Toronto moved forward with a 21% increase, Victoria was up by 20.7%, and Edmonton rose by 9.9%. The market has responded well after Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened mortgage insurance regulations, including decreasing the maximum length of an insured mortgage from 30 to 25 years.
The Globe and Mail – Sept. 15, 2013

Survey: Canada Unemployment Rate to Exceed US

Canada’s five-year reign over the U.S. on employment may come to an end in 2014. According to a Bloomberg News economist survey, unemployment in Canada is expected to average 7% next year while the U.S. unemployment rate is forecast to be 6.9%. “Canada was able to outperform the U.S. during the recession and the recovery, but now, it’s payback time,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. The country is experiencing its slowest growth rate in employment since 2001. While Canada’s unemployment rate has touted advantages of more than 2 percentage points since the Great Recession, August 2013 numbers showed that the advantage has narrowed to 0.2 points with Canada’s unemployment rate at 7.1% and the U.S. at 7.3%. However, Canada will benefit from the strong U.S. recovery since three-quarters of exports are sold to their Southern neighbor.
Financial Post – Sept. 13, 2013

Hottest Fields Hiring Non-College Grads

According to a recent report by Express Employment Professionals, the Industrial sector is the hottest field hiring non-college graduates, with 90% of respondents. Office Services comes in second with 84%, followed by Sales and Marketing with 62%, Health Care with 42%, and Home Help with 37%. According to Express CEO and Chairman of the Board Bob Funk, “The tough economy means job opportunities for non-college graduates may be limited, but some fields are hotter than others and good jobs can be found there.” The Professional field came in last with 4%, preceded by Information Technology with 23%, Licensed Medical with 11%, and Human Resources with 8%. – Sept. 4, 2013


August 2013

After decreasing by 39,000 in July 2013, employment increased by 59,000 in August 2013, mainly in part-time work. Over the past six months, employment has added an average of 12,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate also ticked down by 0.1 to hold steady at 7.1%. The Healthcare sector added the most jobs, with 59,500 positions filled. View the most recent employment report from Statistics Canada.

Major Industry Employment:

  • Construction: + 17,700
  • Manufacturing: + 5,700
  • Trade: - 100
  • Professional, Science & Technical Services: - 400
  • Education Services: - 22,400
  • Information: + 33,200
  • Business, Building & Support Services: - 11,000
  • Healthcare: + 59,500