Richmond Events News - July 2018

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Business wants to get down to the nitty-gritty, David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times

I sometimes wonder what the past two years would have been like if we had not had the EU referendum. We would not, plainly, have stopped banging on about Europe, as David Cameron once put it, but this would have been more of the usual grumbling of the past 40-odd years.

We would not, certainly, be looking at a problem-free economy; weak productivity, under-investment and skill shortages would still be with us. Would the Today programme still have been losing listeners, and newspapers some of their print circulation, if not for the endless diet of Brexit? Business would still find much to complain about in what the government was doing; the apprenticeship levy, too much red tape and business rates to name but three.

But things would have been different. The time taken up by Brexit, in business and in Whitehall, could have been devoted to other, more productive activities. Interest rates would be higher, which some would have regarded as good news, others not. There would be less of a threat of something that must surely concern everybody in business; a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. 

But it happened, and the past two years has been dominated by Brexit. Without it, I would have had to find different topics to write and speak about. Within that, however, there has been a significant change in the attitude of business towards Brexit.


What have the Swiss ever done for us? Dr Kristian Niemietz, IEA

Classical liberal ideas work. But they are usually counterintuitive, and often hard to explain. Proponents of interventionist policies therefore enjoy a natural rhetorical advantage in policy debates.

It is therefore helpful for classical liberals if we can point to a practical example, i.e. a country or region which already practices something close enough to our ideas. For British liberals, it is Switzerland which, in many ways, represents such an example.

Switzerland is not a libertarian paradise. But it is a country which, through its mere existence and its economic success, refutes a lot of the UK’s conventional wisdoms.

US Business Panel Research on Employee Engagement

80% of the panel feel employee engagement is essential within their organization, with a further 19% feeling it’s nice to have.
How ‘essential’ remains to be seen however, as only 72% of the panel say their organizations actually measure employee engagement.  A further 6% are unsure if they do or not.

The panel feels that levels of employee engagement are higher within their department than they are for their organization as a whole.  For their department 66% have high engagement versus 22% for the wider organization.  There’s no real surprise that people feel their department is happier / smarter / more engaged than others but surely by default it means someone somewhere has to be wrong?

58% of the panel feel that engagement levels have increased within their organizations over the past 3 years.  A similar percentage, 50%, (though not necessarily the same people) expect them to increase over the next 12 months.

In terms of who is responsible for an organisations employee engagement strategy, the HR department leads the way for 76% of the panel, followed by individual departments doing it for themselves (20%).
Of the 68% of organizations that measure employee engagement, the highest proportion do so annually, with a further 18% doing it every 6 months.

The most popular measurement tools for employee engagement are questionnaires and appraisals.  Unofficial methods such as word of mouth are also used by many organizations.

11% of the panel feel that less than 10% of employees within their organizations are prepared to go that extra mile, though a further 16% feel the figure is slightly higher; between 10%-25%.  

On the flip side only 11% of the panel feel 90%+ of employees will go the extra mile and only 19% believe between 75%-90% will do likewise. 

The majority sit somewhere in between.  The average figure is 52% - making analysis much easier; for every person in your organization prepared to go that extra mile, there’s someone who isn’t!

The two most important factors contributing to employee engagement are a good leadership team and good line management.

The top 2 areas where the panel feels they need to increase employee engagement levels within their organisation are good line management and (clearer) career opportunities.  Maybe the two are linked………….

For the full report please contact David Clark

Generation X is “stretched beyond their financial limits” and struggling to save for retirement, Jonathan Chevreau

Given that more than one in four millennials still live with their parents or spouse’s parents, it shouldn’t come as a great shock to learn that almost half haven’t saved a penny for retirement.

But members of Generation X (aged 37 to 52) are also struggling to save for retirement and the tighter timeline is causing them stress, according to Franklin Templeton Investments Canada’s 2018 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey released Thursday.

As a result, more than half of Gen Xers across North America are resigned to retiring later than they would want (56 per cent in Canada, 59 per cent in the U.S.).

The fifth annual online survey included Canadians and Americans across four generations, but “this year we felt in particular that Gen X and the stress of preparing for retirement was the predominant thing coming out of the research,” said Matthew Williams, a Franklin Templeton senior vice-president

Full article 

We have kindly been given permission to reprint the article by Postmedia Network Inc, originally published by the Financial Post.