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The Buck Stops Here

The Buck Stops Here

Despite some positive inflation news to kick off the new year, inflation remains top of mind for business leaders. That was a key finding from FGS Global’s latest Business Policy Survey, our quarterly survey of key business stakeholders—business decisionmakers, investors and private sector employees—that measures and tracks attitudes toward major public policy issues.  

Here’s what we found:

  • Inflation remains the number one concern. Among the various priorities that business stakeholders want the federal government to focus on, inflation ranks first on the list for the fourth quarter in a row. The proportion of stakeholders selecting inflation as a priority has climbed steadily since Q1 2022. In addition, over half feel the Biden administration’s policies don’t go far enough in reducing inflation.

  • The new Congress is expected to be good for business. Half or more of employees, business decision-makers and investors think the new Congress will be more favorable toward corporate America than the previous Congress. Stakeholders from both parties expect the new Congress to have a net positive impact on business-related policies.

  • Cautious optimism for 2023. A plurality of stakeholders expect growth in the economy and financial markets for 2023, though they are less optimistic than they were for 2022.

Read the full report here.

By the Numbers

Owning the Inevitable

It’s an unavoidable truth that corporate media coverage impacts the stock market. News articles that either question or support a company’s credibility have the power to influence opinions and share prices. 

With such inevitabilities, companies should make sure to include financial analysts in the target group of their media strategy. A study conducted by the FGS Global research team provides insights into the media habits of DAX40 analysts. It found five ways to make analyst-focused media relations work: 

  • Make use of both essential mediachannels and niche outlets. Of the analysts surveyed, 100% read newswires on a daily basis and 59% rely on trade press coverage, especially when investigating an entire industry.

  • Set the tone and own the conversation. Analysts are open minded when using media for research. Take advantage of this by positioning executive management and your company as thought leaders. Find your niche with new, refreshing topics and set your own proactive agenda.

  • Be mindful of intra-stakeholder dynamics. According to our study, journalists and analysts exchange information and opinions “all the time,” resulting in two key stakeholder groups that mutually influence perception of the company. Take this into account when interacting with either group.

  • Manage expectations with calculated responses. Corporate credibility is influenced by the way companies handle issues covered by the media. By addressing critical scenarios proactively, you can prevent negative spirals. Similarly, positive media should be leveraged by initiating speaking opportunities.

  • Use social media where it counts. The financial community largely doesn’t use social media in equity research, however online networks can be used to bolster corporate communications. Use well-positioned executives’ accounts to showcase expertise, engage in stakeholder-dialogue and shape corporate perception.

It’s a Hybrid World

Nearly three years into the pandemic, it looks like hybrid work is here to stay. Here are a few reminders for building a hybrid work environment where everyone can thrive: 

  • Adopt a flexible policy. Listen to your employees and be open to evolving your policy based on their needs. An authoritarian approach will only receive pushback and ultimately drive people away from the company.

  • Create an inclusive environment. Nearly 60% of women in a hybrid arrangement say they’ve been excluded from important meetings. Pay special attention to the needs of employee groups more likely to feel excluded and face career repercussions.

  • Update your space. For employees, the value of spending time in the office comes from opportunities for collaboration and connecting with colleagues. A hybrid office should focus on flexible work spaces geared toward team gatherings and social interactions.

  • Establish hybrid meeting guidelines.  Meetings that include in-person and remote participants can be particularly challenging. Establish rules of conduct that define procedures around taking turns and what the moderator’s tasks include.

  • Invest in the right technology. Hybrid workers need tools that enable effective communication and collaboration. Beyond standard document sharing tools and Zoom, there is also a need for technologies that support virtual social interactions, workspace booking and unique collaboration.

January 17, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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