Kiwi businesses want to work smarter, not harder

10 July 2017

We commissioned UMR Research to produce From Risk to Reward: The Business Perspective, and the results told us some interesting things about the way New Zealanders want to do business.

It’s not all about business growth

We discovered that 78% of New Zealand businesses prize their work-life balance, and see it as being just as important as growth. Many are more interested in working smarter in the hours they set aside for business, and want to focus on productivity and efficiency (58%) rather than growth for growth’s sake.

Interestingly, over one-third of the businesses we talked to say they have no desire to grow, and worry that it could lead to a loss of company culture (49%), or a loss of innovation (58%).

Attitudes to growth*

*Findings from From Risk to Reward

Human capital is a valuable business asset

When we asked businesses what factors have the biggest impact on their success or failure, five out of the top seven factors they listed related to people. 

Employers are looking for staff who:

  • have the right skill-set
  • are reliable 
  • fit with the company culture. 

They’re also conscious of the importance of a strong leadership team that demonstrates self-belief and confidence.

Ensuring retention of the right management skills for the business was an important factor for business success.

Overcoming risks to drive growth and success

The businesses surveyed stated that competitor activity and a lack of product quality could hinder growth and success, but that good planning, adequate access to funding and having the right people were mitigating factors and key ingredients to success.

Good planning, adequate access to funding and having the right people are key ingredients to success.

Funding and human capital came up again when we broached the subject of risk.

Many felt that these critical success components come with significant risk attached, but admitted that that risk is also inextricably linked to growth and opportunity.   

Our respondents also identified a range of other risks, including:

  • rising input costs
  • compliance costs
  • market manipulation
  • competitor activity
  • cyber-crime 
  • rising debt.

Respondents said organisations that effectively manage risk seem to benefit from better decision-making, and are often focused on growing a diverse and robust business able to withstand tough economic conditions.

“Organisations that effectively manage risk seem to benefit from better decision making”

How do businesses manage risk?

75% said they manage risk by finding new ways to grow

67% said they had insurance in place to cover key risks

21% favour strategic planning

17% focus on process management

11% invest in market research

9% prioritize staff training

The clear message was that to succeed (whether that means pure growth, or greater efficiency and productivity) while achieving work-life balance, risk in all its forms must be properly managed.

You can read a full summary report of the research here.

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