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Business Leaders Out of Touch and Failing to Inspire, Say Employees

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British businesses are facing a crisis of leadership, according to new research from Tiger Recruitment, which has found that 58% of employees are rarely or never inspired by the leader of the company they work for. Furthermore, according to British employees, many leaders are setting a poor example around the issues that matter to them today, including work-life balance (28%), managing stress (29%), flexible working (21%) and staying mentally healthy (21%).

The research carried out by YouGov online questioned over 1,000 British employees about their views on the leaders of their business and where the issues they care about sit on the leadership agenda. The findings suggest that a significant number of business leaders are failing to connect effectively with their teams and are only paying lip-service to some of the key workplace issues that employees value today, particularly related to employee wellbeing.

Over half of workers (54%) want to see work-life balance move up the leadership agenda in their business, while 42% say the same about flexible working, and around a third about helping them to stay mentally healthy (39%) and manage stress (35%). Yet, when asked in which of these areas their leader sets a good example, just 23% say they do so on work-life balance, only 24% on flexible working, and only 17% and 11% respectively when it comes to mental health and stress.

On a more positive note, leaders of small businesses fair better than those in larger firms, with one in five (20%) small business employees saying their leader inspires them often or all the time, more than double the number who say the same in medium-sized or large businesses (9%). Employees in small businesses are also more likely to say that their business leader sets a good example on key issues, including work-life balance (30%) and working flexibly (28%).

 “Research has shown that employees who are engaged in the vision and mission of a business can make all the difference to its success, yet our findings suggest that many leaders are failing to bring their people with them,” commented David Morel, CEO, Tiger Recruitment. “What’s more, strong leadership is more important than ever in the current climate, with uncertainty and constant change making it even harder for businesses to stay on track and achieve success.”

“Candidates tell us time and again how important it is to work for an employer who values their work-life balance and wellbeing, both when searching for a new role, and when deciding whether to jump ship from their current one. Businesses must therefore invest in both the policies that enable employees to stay healthy and happy at work, as well as the culture to back those up. Culture starts from the top, which means business leaders must get on board and show they take wellbeing seriously – both their own and their team’s.”