Vitality levels among executives in global companies are disconcertingly low, according to respondents of the 2017 Benchmark Study on Organisational Vitality, conducted by Borderless ResearchSM. Article from Niels-Peter Van Doorn.
Because Organisational Vitality impacts revenue, productivity, innovation and engagement, the study highlights opportunities for corporate managers to tap into energy sources that increase vitality and improve organisational performance.
The benchmark study captures insights from 400 global executives worldwide, across a range of industries.
While the topic of vitality is relevant for most respondents, the level of organisational vitality reported is very low. Most respondents are unfamiliar with how best to manage vitality and energy. Senior Managers perceive their personal vitality as excellent. This positive finding is in strong contrast with the vitality of middle and lower management, which is reported to be low and, in some cases, very low.
The perceptions and needs of respondents over and under 45 differ greatly.
Younger generations perceive a lower level of organisational vitality than older generations. Younger generations also score lower on individual vitality than older generations. As for energy sources, respondents under 45 lack emotional support and positive feedback, while respondents over age 45 say they lack practical support, guidance and coaching from their superiors.
One of the main energy drains for all respondents is the poor division of tasks and lack of cooperation among functions. The ineffectiveness of meetings continues to be an important energy drain. On the whole, respondents report a lack of support from superiors, and the general absence of a culture of support and constructive feedback.
The Borderless perspective
Much managerial effort is spent on fighting sources of stress. Recognising and understanding the energy sources of an organisation and creating the conditions to tap into them offers a constructive alternative
Companies adjust to changing circumstances by changing their strategy and their structure. To improve the agility of their organisations, managers should focus on synergy (cooperation between people) and the support of individual employees to create an important source of energy. However, these tend not to be part of current priorities.
“We also see that the workplace has evolved to serve the needs of generations over 45. The workplace needs to be adapted to ensure the engagement of younger generations,” adds Mijke Ketting, Borderless Consultant. Organisations focus on establishing shared values and a sense of belonging based on a well-defined corporate identity,” says Andrew Kris, Founding Partner, Borderless. “Given their reactions, it is evident that respondents would benefit more from practical and moral support from their leaders and peers.”
To that end, Borderless offers the following recommendations to increase levels of both organisational and personal vitality: Make sure organisational vitality is on the radar by demonstrating its impact on business results and engagement, and its consequent potential to yield competitive advantage. Educate leaders on the importance of their roles as facilitators and coaches, and their likely impact on the agility of the organisation.
Develop organisational initiatives for cross-functional cooperation, preferably around key projects that have strategic relevance. Develop organisational initiatives that support individual employees and allow different approaches for different generations.