84% of Australian firms plan to increase or maintain their current level of investment in employee wellbeing programs
Australian businesses consider investments in employee wellbeing, skills and agility to be more important to future success than leveraging new technologies, according to new research by HSBC.
‘Navigator: Made for the Future’, HSBC’s latest survey of more than 2,500 companies across 14 markets globally – including 200 businesses from Australia – reveals that Australian businesses believe their future success will come from investments in their workforce, including employee wellbeing (23%), being agile and responsive to change (25%) and bringing new skills and experience to their business (22%).
These factors ranked well ahead of leveraging technological innovation (15%), despite this being the number one priority for firms globally (26%).
While Australian firms are seemingly placing lower priority on technological innovation, the research showed they are adapting to the inevitability of new technologies transforming – and benefiting – the commercial world. More than half of Australian businesses believe the Internet of Things (58%), Augmented Reality (53%) and 5G technology (52%) will add an array of benefits to their business.
“As Australian businesses look to gain a competitive edge by adopting new and emerging technologies, it’s encouraging to see that firms are not embracing technology at the expense of investment in their workforce and workplace culture,” said Steve Hughes, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Australia.
The majority of Australian businesses believe innovation will equip employees with a better understanding of customer needs (71%), increase workforce productivity (70%) and create development opportunities due to an ongoing need to up-skill their workforce (76%).
“The research shows that Australian firms are eager to strike a balance between technological change and maintaining a positive work environment where engaged, highly-skilled employees feel valued. While it is inevitable that workplaces will continue to evolve, Australian firms recognise that investments in their workforce will remain a crucial competitive differentiator in the years ahead.”
Of the Australian firms prioritising employee wellbeing, two in five (39%) will increase their investment over the next one to two years, with an additional 45% maintaining existing levels.
Over two thirds (69%) of Australian businesses surveyed expect to experience growth over the next one to two years, compared to a global average of 79%. An increasing and stable end customer base (30%) and quality of skills in their workforce (26%) are the main drivers behind this optimism.
Interviews for the ‘Navigator: Made for the Future’ survey were conducted in Australia, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the USA in May 2019.