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Executive pay gaps, Theo Paphitis & virtual body language


In this month’s myGrapevine magazine content roundup, we look at why the public’s attitude to spiralling executive pay is swiftly changing, we explore the case of one notable executive trying to ensure physical retail has a future, and reveal why the traditional employee handbook is making a return. In addition to this, we investigate the nuances of Zoom body language, and how to better ‘read’ people in virtual settings…

 

Executive pay gaps gain greater public scrutiny

 

Executive pay gaps gain greater public scrutiny

The gap between chief executives’ pay and UK average earnings has narrowed as a result of scrapped bonuses and heavier scrutiny on leaders' finances, new research has found. Median pay for chief executives of FTSE 100 companies in 2020 was 86 times that of the average annual wage for a full-time worker, according to research from the High Pay Centre.

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Although that is still a huge difference, the gulf between earnings of workers and their bosses is getting narrower. By comparison, two years ago, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, FTSE 100 CEOs earned around 120 times more than the average UK employee. The drop can be attributed to temporary pay freezes and bonus cuts during the pandemic, along with average CEO earnings dropping from £3.25million in 2019 to £2.7million in 2020.

However, public attitude towards higher earners appears to be heading on an opposite trajectory. In fact, research conducted by the High Pay Centre and the polling company Survation found that most people believed high earnings are the result of educational and social privilege, not a reflection of harder or more valuable work.

 

Why CEO and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis is fighting the death of the high street

Former Dragons' Den star and business magnate, Theo Paphitis, has vowed to ‘dig deep to keep retail alive’ after a difficult year and dismal Christmas for the high street. Paphitis, who owns high street chains Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and Ryman, told Retail Week that his empire ‘had the kitchen sink thrown at it’ – but, despite that, all three of his businesses have recorded earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and EBITDA losses.

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During the ‘Golden Quarter,’ which is sought to be the best time for the sector in the run up to the festive period, the online performance of Paphitis’ companies was up 87.5% while stores were down 6.3%. On this backdrop, the former Dragon’s Den star is reportedly calling on the Chancellor to offer increased support to organisations to ensure that the high street continues to be a constant part of the UK’s towns and cities.

He told the Independent: “The strength of our e-commerce trading masks the much more challenging store environment, in particular in city centres and prime locations, where business rates are unfairly high… We, like so many in this sector, have responded well when we’ve had everything, including the kitchen sink thrown at us, and will continue to dig deep to keep physical retail alive, as a key function of communities, but we cannot do this on our own.”

 

Why CEO and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis is fighting the death of the high street

 

Former Dragons' Den star and business magnate, Theo Paphitis, has vowed to ‘dig deep to keep retail alive’ after a difficult year and dismal Christmas for the high street. Paphitis, who owns high street chains Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and Ryman, told Retail Week that his empire ‘had the kitchen sink thrown at it’ – but, despite that, all three of his businesses have recorded earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and EBITDA losses.

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During the ‘Golden Quarter,’ which is sought to be the best time for the sector in the run up to the festive period, the online performance of Paphitis’ companies was up 87.5% while stores were down 6.3%. On this backdrop, the former Dragon’s Den star is reportedly calling on the Chancellor to offer increased support to organisations to ensure that the high street continues to be a constant part of the UK’s towns and cities.

He told the Independent: “The strength of our e-commerce trading masks the much more challenging store environment, in particular in city centres and prime locations, where business rates are unfairly high…We, like so many in this sector, have responded well when we’ve had everything, including the kitchen sink thrown at us, and will continue to dig deep to keep physical retail alive, as a key function of communities, but we cannot do this on our own.”

 

Why staff handbooks are making a comeback – and how this could help leaders

 

Why staff handbooks are making a comeback – and how this could help leaders

In an increasingly hybrid world of work (and with some firms now going fully remote for a variety of reasons, be it saving rent costs or scrapping geographical limits on their talent pool), large numbers of employers are turning to a staple of business operations of years gone by – the staff handbook.

Some of the firms going old school, in an era where troubleshooting via a quick Zoom or Teams call is second nature for most employees, include GitLab, a software operations firm, which started its handbook back in 2013. The handbook is publicly available for anyone to view, and this is not without reason. Wendy Nice Barnes, the Chief People Officer, stated that this transparency puts GitLab in a stronger position to recruit candidates that are aware of the company’s values.

This approach also encourages feedback from “people outside the company, and makes it easier to collaborate with them,” Barnes explained to Forbes, adding: “It allows the world at large to replicate processes and make suggestions for improvement, and it simplifies sharing our processes with external stakeholders.”

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The importance of dissecting Zoom body language as a leader

Since the pandemic started, virtual meetings with colleagues and associates have become central to our working lives. But although this may be a very convenient way of working, the virtual environment doesn’t allow us to read the body language of our colleagues and associates in the same way.

Experts from the University of California agreed that 70% to 93% of all human communication is non-verbal. Body Language Researcher and Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Albert Mehrabian, is famous for his 7-38-55 communication model, which stated that seven per cent of all communication is through words, 38% through tone of voice, and the remaining 55% through body language.

So how can you better learn to ‘read’ people in a virtual environment? The first and most important thing is to pay attention. Although it may be hard to keep track of body language via a computer screen, if you don’t try, you’ll miss out on important non-verbal clues about them, and how they’re engaging with what you’re saying.

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The importance of dissecting Zoom body language as a leader

 

Since the pandemic started, virtual meetings with colleagues and associates have become central to our working lives. But although this may be a very convenient way of working, the virtual environment doesn’t allow us to read the body language of our colleagues and associates in the same way.

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Experts from the University of California agreed that 70% to 93% of all human communication is non-verbal. Body Language Researcher and Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Albert Mehrabian, is famous for his 7-38-55 communication model, which stated that seven per cent of all communication is through words, 38% through tone of voice, and the remaining 55% through body language.

So how can you better learn to ‘read’ people in a virtual environment? The first and most important thing is to pay attention. Although it may be hard to keep track of body language via a computer screen, if you don’t try, you’ll miss out on important non-verbal clues about them, and how they’re engaging with what you’re saying.

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