While the C-suite may think corporate America is prepared to handle major shifts in politics, the economy, technology and culture, most staff level workers are wary — though millennials are more willing to change the status quo than older workers, according to Addison Group’s 2017 Annual Workplace Survey.
The Chicago-based provider of professional staffing services surveyed 1,000 white-collar workers and found 43 percent of staff-level employees do not feel confident their industry is prepared for future changes coming to the workplace, compared to the 84 percent of C-suite leaders who do.
Moreover, 86 percent of C-suite leaders and 76 percent of senior management agree corporate America is headed in the right direction, compared to 54 percent of staff-level employees.
Specifically, staff-level employees are 36 percent less confident than C-suite leaders that they are adequately trained for the future; 36 percent less confident their company is hiring the right people; 32 percent less confident their company is retaining top talent; and 26 percent less confident in their company’s loyalty to customers.
As a result, staff-level employees are about half (46 percent) as likely to feel confident in their organization’s loyalty to employees compared to the C-suite. Similarly, staff-level employees are 38 percent less likely to have faith in their organizations’ ethical leadership compared to the leaders themselves.
However, millennials are more willing to challenge the status quo (68 percent) than Gen X (59 percent) and boomer (48 percent) employees. But positions within the company do make a difference: When broken down by status, 89 percent of the C-suite and 87 percent of senior management are willing to disrupt the norm, compared to 69 percent of mid-level management and 46 percent of staff-level employees.
These results could reflect the quality of communication between superiors and their subordinates, according to the study. Only 44 percent of staff-level employees have had a conversation with their employer about the future of their company. This number grows higher with position, with 65 percent of mid-level managers, 79 percent of senior managers and 83 percent of C-suite leaders saying they have held these conversations with their employer.
When asked about how emerging technologies could be impacting the workplace:
36 percent of C-suite and 37 percent of senior management are aware of artificial intelligence affecting their workplace, compared to 26 percent of mid-level managers and 14 percent of staff-level employees.
Only 4 percent of staff-level employees are aware of how chatbots will affect their workplace. The C-suite and senior management are more aware, but at a relatively low level (27 percent and 24 percent, respectively).
“Generally, only senior and C-suite leaders recognize the level of impact these technologies will have on their jobs, leaving staff level employees uninformed,” the authors write.
“As these tools continue to gain traction in corporate environments, there is no doubt companies and HR professionals will need to thoroughly communicate their potential impact to all employees — particularly those unaware of these impending changes.”