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Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Information & Learning

Headline findings include:

  • In terms of gaining learning beneficial to their everyday work role, the main source is via conferences and networking events with over 80% of the panel indicating this as a preferred choice.
  • As for sources of learning in terms of the panel’s personal career development, again the number one source is through conferences and networking events.  This is followed by ‘my personal network’ and membership of an industry association.
  • The highest proportion of the panel, over half, have previously studied for qualifications whilst in the workplace, and a further 13% are currently studying.
  • 85% of the panel are members of their industry association / professional body.  The two most popular benefits of membership are expanding ‘my’ network and sharing best practice.
  • Asked which areas the panel would benefit from further training, the top responses were for leadership training, change management and presentation skills.
  • Asked which other departments the panel feels they would benefit from training about, the number one choice was into the workings of the finance department, with over half the panel indicating an interest in this area.  The next most popular area was into the workings of the CEO with a third of the panel indicating such interest.
  • 30% of the panel read sites / blogs virtually every day, 43% quite regularly. This is much higher than the corresponding figures for readership of the financial press which is 20% every day and 33% quite regularly.
  • Social media – 91% of the panel use LinkedIn for business purposes.  The next highest social media channel is YouTube with just over 1 in 4 of the panel doing likewise.  Only 11% of the panel use Facebook or Twitter within a business context.
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Richmond Events' Business Panel - Economic Outlook

Headline findings include:

  • Only 3% of the panel expect the economy to grow significantly over the next 12 months. However, just over half expect it to have shown some signs of growth (marginally).   
  • The figures for 3 years’ time are much more optimistic.  18% of the panel expect the economy to have grown significantly whilst a further 64% expect it to have grown marginally. Only 2% expect it to shrink a little.  
  • The highest proportion of the panel have either remained at the same level or will increase headcount this year.  A further ¼ have reduced headcount and may do so again whilst 11% have reduced headcount and don’t expect to do so again. 
  • 51% of the panel feel their revenues will increase over the next 12 months, whereas 45% feel their profits will do likewise.  For this to be correct then it would suggest that organizations are going to have to find those profits from elsewhere; reduced headcount, tighter cash flow and general cost cutting are all likely to figure prominently. 
  • 20% expect to see their budget increase compared to 30% who expect it to see it go the other way.  The rest, 50%, don’t see it changing.
  • 10% of organizations expect to move some part of their business outside the US over the next 2 years.  The most popular destinations are Canada and South / Central America.
  • There is no overwhelming satisfaction with the Administration’s handling of the economy.  However the number thinking it’s been very good has improved from last year, from 3% to 11%.  Those thinking it’s been acceptable has fallen slightly to 29%.
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Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Social Media

Headline findings include:
  • 45% of organizations do not currently spend any budget on social media. Of those that do the average percentage of departmental budget spend is 4.3%.
  • Over half the panel are likely to increase their spend on social media, 46% moderately and 9% drastically.
  • LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for both personal use (in their role) as well being used by their organization. Over 80% of the panel use it within their role, whilst 69% of organizations use it.
  • Only 5% of organizations have strict ROI measurement tools in place for social media. Almost two thirds don’t measure ROI at all.
  • LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are viewed as the most effective social media channels.
  • The most popular areas for employing social media within organizations are towards brand promotion, PR & communications and customer engagement. These are followed by general marketing and employee recruitment.
  • In almost two thirds of organizations the marketing department is responsible for social media content.
  • Organizations report on average 6% of their employees use social media as part of their role.
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Richmond Events' Business Panel - Internal Communications

Headline findings include:
  • Only 7% of the panel describe their organization’s internal communications as excellent, and 45% as good. 42% feel they’re a mixed bag, some clearly good and some less so.
  • There are 3 primary purposes for an organization’s internal communications: to build support for the organization’s vision, (for) staff motivation / employee engagement and to communicate senior management decisions and viewpoints.  
  • Just over ½ of the panel feels internal communications are essential for keeping their whole organization up to speed with what’s going on.  This is followed by 46% who believe it’s a key motivator in terms of employee engagement.
  • It is further reassuring that only 6% feel internal communications are not that useful and that they can find out what they need by talking to clients.
  • It may be considered somewhat of a surprise that the Comms department doesn’t lead the way in terms of being responsible for an organization’s internal communications, instead 37% of the panel saying it ‘depends on what’s being said’.  The communications department is in 2nd place with 1 in 4 of the panel saying this is the case. 
  • The most popular channels for organizations to communicate with its employees are through email and via the intranet.  These are followed by live events and conferences and the more traditional method of in person; predominately through line managers. 
  • At the other end of the scale only 2% of organizations use LinkedIn and 5% twitter, whilst not a single organization uses YouTube.
  • The majority of the panel are mainly satisfied with the ease in which they can locate information; 18% saying it’s easy and a further 60% saying not too bad.
  • Over two thirds of the panel agree with the statement that social media enables them to reach more people more quickly than before.  A further ¼ are unsure, whereas 6% disagree.
  • Just less than ½ the panel engage with their organization’s internal communications on a daily basis, 30% engage weekly and a further 23% engage whenever they have time.

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Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Attitudes to Suppliers

Headline findings include:
  • 6% of the panel will meet over 50 potential new suppliers per year though none will appoint this many. 
  • On average the panel talk to 18 potential suppliers over the course of a year.  They then appoint on average 5 new suppliers per year – i.e. just over 1 in 4 (or 28%) of the companies they meet.   
  • The average number of suppliers that the panel employs over the course of a typical year is 28.  This can be further broken down to 23 (82%) existing and 5 (18%) new.
  • Only a minority of companies always employ a formal tender process or a short list system when appointing new suppliers.
  • In terms of input from other departments during the appointing of new suppliers, procurement are most likely to be involved, finance and legal in some cases and HR less so.
  • The 2 top ways of sourcing potential new suppliers are recommendations / word of mouth and through meeting at a conference. 
  • No surprise that in this day and age price is the number one factor the panel looks for when compiling a shortlist of suppliers. This is closely followed by product quality and flexibility.
  • 82% of the panel have asked some of their suppliers to re-quote their prices over the last few years, with the average number they’ve asked being 30%.
  • However the majority of the panel has not changed their payment terms
  • Over half of the panel has brought work back previously outsourced work in house.  Of those that have done so the average amount (they’ve brought back) is 13%.
  • The majority of the panel is quite prepared to ask suppliers to re-quote in order to match a lower price, with only 6% saying they would never do so.
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