Mazars contrasts business attitudes on either side of the English Channel

That’s the message from a recent study by accountants MazarsNeville Russell of business attitudes on both sides of the Channel, and fromsunny Spain for fair measure, towards employees as intangible assets.

Straight talking John Bull emerges as a short-termist with a strong emphasis onintellectual potential and technical expertise; while all that youthful, effetemincing about on Paris’s left-bank has done nothing for the Gallic businesscommunity’s intellectual prowess.

Adaptability as well as interpersonal skills are key qualities for Frenchexecutives – 48% said fitting in was a decisive quality compared to only 24% inthe UK.

‘In the UK, it’s expertise that counts, with everything else less important,’ said John Mellows, UK senior partner at the top 30 firm. ‘Companies in the UK are recruiting specialists expecting them to be productive immediately and consider their ability to adapt and form a bond with the company of secondaryimportance.’

He argues that the survey of 425 French, UK and Spanish executives reveals thatcompanies need to look beyond profit and start to exploit intangible capitalsuch as employees, clients and organisational efficiency.

‘They are being hired to perform specific missions,’ he added. ‘Attachment to the company is no longer an important qualification and respondents have obviously accepted that managers are becoming more nomadic or even mercenary.’

Brits also emerge as far more confident about their skills than the insecureFrench – although they do express some doubts in the area of labour relations.

Although the British are less enthusiastic than their continental cousins aboutincentive schemes for staff, almost 90% of managers surveyed admitted theyrelied on them.

Two thirds of the British and Spanish companies have introduced employeemanagement performance in managerial assessments, while only just over half haveintroduced the system in France.

‘Perhaps because senior management would itself come under direct scrutiny!,’Mellows muses.

However, almost everyone surveyed from the three countries said an ideal managerwas able to inspire and orchestrate his (sic) team’s work.

Mellows said that companies that give into market and shareholder pressuresdeprive themselves of intangible capital value.

‘While the concept of intangible capital is now firmly recognised as a strategicconcept, its integration into company management is only just beginning.’

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