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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Sep 28, 2011 - 10:14 AM

Economic woes impact both Ireland's country reputation and workforce health
By Finfacts Team
Sep 28, 2011 - 2:45 AM

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Corporate Reputations and the Reputation Institute announced on Tuesday that Ireland has been ranked as the 17th most reputable country in the world by the general public across the G-8 nations out of 53 countries surveyed in the annual CountryRep2011 study. Also on Tuesday, Vhi Corporate Solutions reported a deterioration in workforce health with a 110% increase in employees with emotional health issues and a 204% rise in queries regarding bullying and harassment

Ireland dropped three places from last year’s 14th reputation study.  This continues Ireland’s reputational decline from when it was first measured in CountryRep in 2009 and ranked in 11th place.

Irish people rated Ireland in 31st position, a 'startling drop' of 12 places from last year, indicating that Ireland’s self worth is at an all time low and that Ireland does not view itself as positively as it is viewed externally.  The study, which is carried out by the Reputation Institute, found that Canada has been ranked the most reputable country in the world, followed by Sweden and then Australia while Iraq was found to be the least reputable state.

CountryRep 2011, which measured the public perception of 53 countries around the world across 16 attributes, received responses from 42,000 consumers across the G-8 countries (Canada, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan, France, the US and Russia).

The pricing for country reports starts from €25,000 - - either cheap, inexpensive or not!

Niamh Boyle, managing director, Corporate Reputations, the Irish Associate of the Reputation Institute, said “These results are worrying for Ireland from multiple perspectives. The G-8 are our trading partners, important tourism markets, and significant sources of foreign direct investment for Ireland.  We need to be doing all that we can to reverse this current downward slide in our reputation.”


Companies in Ireland were urged on Tuesday to prioritise relationships with their employees and invest in equipping managers with inter-personal skills at the 2011 Vhi Corporate Solutions Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Conference.  The conference, which was attended by over 120 representatives from Ireland’s top employers, focussed on the need to promote positive relationships as well as introducing pro-active measures to prevent burn-out in the workplace and a decrease in the productivity in organisations.

In the first quarter of 2011 vs the same period in 2010 the Vhi Corporate Solutions team saw a number of stark trends regarding the queries received by the employee assistance programmes (EAP) provided in over 450 companies nationwide.  In particular there was a 110% increase in employees citing issues with concerns regarding emotional health which was closely linked to a 204% increase in information requests regarding bullying and harassment policies.

There was also a sharp increase in the number of employees regarding support for bullying and harassment issues. The Vhi EAPs saw a 48% increase in the number of employees seeking support regarding conflict with colleagues and a 46% increase in the number of managers seeking assistance with regard to concerns over individual team members and dealing with reactions to issues such as workload increase.

Dr Tony Humphreys, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and director of three National University of Ireland courses, identified some of the key sins within the workplace as being leadership without maturity, management without relationship, work without dignity and putting profit before people. 

He described how many companies place unrealistic demands on their management teams due to the diversity of the tasks involve such as cost control, product development, manufacturing, finance and people management.  He highlighted the need for managers to focus on the relationships with themselves and the well-being of individual employees and called on employers to provide managers with the type of training to empower them with the understanding to respond maturely to any challenging behaviours.

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