Category: Insights

Release of the Executive Summary of the Employee View of the Employer Brand

Antilles Economics and Blueprint Creative Inc. recently completed a pilot study of more than 440 employees in Barbados to shed light on how employees’ views could be influencing their employers’ brands. The concept of the employer brand encompasses all aspects of an organisation’s reputation as an employer, and embodies the idea that companies should have an articulated value proposition for its employees. If we accept that employer brands reflect an organisation’s value proposition for its employees, it is evident that employers should pay attention to three broad areas:
  1. The experience that prospective employees have with the employer’s brand when job hunting;
  2. The level of engagement of current employees and their overall attitudes towards their employers; and,
  3. The response that current employees have to internal communication efforts that reinforce the employer brand.

Job Hunting

In many instances, the first time an employee encounters an organisation’s employer brand is when considering the organisation as a potential employer. Therefore, understanding the needs of job-hunters plays a crucial role in how organisations position their employer brand. The main insight uncovered by the research is that not only are appropriate pay and corporate culture the two most cited criteria when choosing an employer, they are interlinked. 53% of respondents stated that the most important challenge when job hunting is finding a job that pays what they’re worth, while the second most important challenge is finding an organisation with a good corporate culture (38% of respondents). The study further uncovered that companies with poor corporate cultures are more likely to encounter a ‘culture tax’, an unofficial salary premium expected by employees to compensate for the poor corporate culture that they must endure. Together, the results reinforce the importance of the employer brand in attracting the best talent.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an important concern in Barbados, and will become even more so if the country is to produce its way out of its current economic challenges. Apart from a small uptick in 2014 that was the result of decline in total national hours worked, productivity levels in Barbados have been falling since 2011[1]. Boosting employee engagement has the potential to improve productivity levels in Barbados, as more engaged employees would result in a greater return on the investment made in human capital. As an example of the potential rewards that could be received by improving engagement levels, consider a 2013 article published by Gallup on boosting productivity in the United Kingdom. The article estimated that eliminating active disengagement from the U.K. workforce could result in productivity gains between £52 billion and £70 billion per year[2].

In Barbados, addressing employee engagement could provide an immediate boost to productivity, as our research estimates that the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) for Barbados in 2017 was -52%, i.e. for every employee that is willing to promote their employer to others, there are five more that are detractors that may be damaging their company’s reputation through negative word of mouth. Furthermore, only 51.8% of employees consider their job to be a career, and 43.9% would like to be working somewhere else within the next 12 months. The eNPS score, along with these results, point to notable dissatisfaction amongst workers in the country. The results also raise the possibility that their dissatisfaction could be negatively influencing their employers’ brands.

Internal Communications

An organisation’s internal communication efforts are typically the only formal attempt to articulate the employer brand to current employees. Organisations can use internal communications to drive home messages around its values and culture as well as communicating more practical information about financial performance and strategy. And, in today’s era of widespread social media usage, getting these messages out can be not only interactive and fun, but could also lead to useful insights that could further strengthen employer brands.

The results of the study show, however, that organisations in Barbados may not be fully taking advantage of internal communications to strengthen their employer brands. 40% of employees that took part in the survey stated that their organisation’s management team did not communicate with employees on a regular basis, and 48.6% believed that their personal values and their organisation’s values were not aligned. In both cases, these employees had lower eNPS scores than their counterparts who benefitted from more frequent communications as well as those that believed their personal values and their organisation’s values were aligned.

How to Access the Executive Summary

In the report, we suggest ways in which organisations can strengthen their employer brands by paying attention to these three areas: the employee experience while job hunting, employee engagement and internal communications. To read the entire executive summary, click here. By downloading the report, you will automatically be signed up to receive notification when the full report is available.

To learn more about the Barbados Business Dashboard, a collaborative research undertaking of Antilles Economics and Blueprint Creative, please email Stacia at

[1] Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (2016). Barbados Social and Economic Report 2015. Government of Barbados.

[2] Gallup. 2013. Solving the U.K.’s Productivity Problem. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 4 September 2017].

Introducing AE Quarterly

I’m pleased to introduce AE Quarterly, our email newsletter that will feature articles written by the AE team on business topics relevant to our Caribbean audience.

I would have mentioned our plan to introduce AE Quarterly in our first post of the year, and I’m happy to announce that the inaugural edition has been released. The main goal of the newsletter is to promote discussion on topics that affect doing business here in the region. We all know that there is not enough independent thought on Caribbean business, and we at Antilles Economics are doing our part to close the gap.

The March 2017 edition includes the following articles:

  • From the Minds of Marketers with Greg Hoyos
  • Exploring the Green Economy in Barbados
  • The Barbados Mortgage Market After 9 Years of Economic Strain

Subscribing to the newsletter is free, and if you haven’t already signed up to receive yours, you can do so now by clicking here.

I’d love to hear what you think and any suggestions on the types of articles you’d like to have us feature, so feel free to email us your feedback and suggestions at

The Recovery of Consumer Spending

The Barbados economy appears to be emerging from a prolonged economic slump, fueled mostly by personal consumption. In large measure, funding challenges appear to explain the contraction in consumer spending experienced throughout the downturn, and the shift from purchasing non-essential items (such as vehicles) to purchasing essential items (such as food) over the last 7 years. The year 2015, however, may turn out to be a pivotal year, as all sources of funding appear to be on the rise. This is positive news for consumer goods and retail businesses, as 2015 could mark the return of at least moderate growth in consumer spending.

Read more about the Recovery of Consumer Spending here

To learn more about how Antilles Economics monitors economic and industry developments, click here to learn more about our Dashboards.

Information Gaps Limiting Investing

The Barbadian financial market has not always behaved as theory would suggest, especially when considering most investment products. For example, fixed income investments holdings decrease when theory suggests that they should increase; the volume of stock market trading may have a stronger tie to the attractiveness of the market generally rather than economic activity; and, the mutual fund market is heavily influenced by government incentives.

One theory explaining the disconnect between investment theory and observed market trends in Barbados could be that insufficient information results in suboptimal wealth allocation. Our research uncovered four information gaps that influence potential investors’ demand for investment products:

  • Limited understanding of features of financial instruments;
  • Limited information on all features of financial instruments;
  • Lack of trust in financial institutions; and,
  • The inability to comfortably asses risk and return.

These gaps lead to dissatisfaction with local investment options, apprehensive and risk-averse attitudes to investing, and a lack of trust in financial institutions. Combined, they result in an overall low appetite for investing in Barbados. To stimulate potential investors’ appetites, financial institutions must repair existing information gaps by ensuring that their investment information is easy to understand, comprehensive and clearly communicated, thus building confidence in their organisation and investing generally.

To read the entire article, click here .


It’s Confirmed! Customer Service Vital For Business Survival in Barbados

AE Report Cover 85Customer service is very important to Barbadian consumers – so much so, that they would consider paying more to benefit from an enhanced customer service experience. At the same time, however, many consumers feel trapped and unable to switch companies if they receive poor service. Despite these feelings, consumers are not always voicing their complaints to their service providers. Additionally, these consumers are not very vocal online. They are not keeping silent though. They are telling friends, family members and colleagues about their service experiences, and making decisions about which companies to do business with based on the experiences of others.

These are some of the main findings of our recent survey on customer experience, which asked more than 400 consumers in Barbados about their responses to good and bad customer service experiences, how they determine which companies to do business with, and the main reasons why they continued to do business with a company that they weren’t satisfied with.

To access the results of the survey, click here to read the Customer Experience Survey Summary Report.

Blueprint Creative and Antilles Economics surveyed consumers in Barbados to help corporate Barbados gain a better understanding of the impact that customer experience has on businesses. They study was motivated by the need to provide companies operating in Barbados with data to inform their customer service strategic decisions. With no publicly available data, CEOs, Marketing Managers and other executives were forced to rely on data from other countries, which may not always provide the appropriate insight into the Barbados market. This survey is the first step to closing this gap. We have made the data collected during the survey accessible to companies that wish to delve deeper into the data that what is provided in the summary report.

To find out how to access more detailed information, visit

The ‘New’ British Visitor to Barbados

Since the late 2000s the number of British visitors to Barbados has fallen considerably (click Where did the Brits go to read our article looking at possible explanations.) This decline resulted in a shift in the characteristics of the average British visitor. In our latest article, we take a closer look at The ‘New’ British Visitor to Barbados.

We investigate demographics and travel patterns and find that the ‘new‘ visitor is very different from the pre-2008 visitor, with different spending patterns, demographic characteristics and travel planning behaviour. This shift raises important considerations about the future of the British market in Barbados.   

To read this article, click here .

If you would like to see more of this type of research, join the AE Group of Influencers and let us know.

Where Did the Brits Go?

One of the indirect effects of the global financial crisis on Barbados has been a reduction in visitor arrivals. While arrivals from all of Barbados’ main source markets felt the impact, the British market has been particularly hard hit: not only has the total number of visitors declined, but visitor expenditure has also fallen.

There are a number of potential explanations that have been posited:

  • The UK recession and the rise of the ‘staycation’ have resulted in lower demand for travel outside of the country
  • The increase in the air passenger duty applied to longhaul flights increased the cost of airfare, possible beyond the reach of many of Barbados’ visitors
  • The closure of a large all-inclusive hotel created a gap in the package holiday market

We examine these theories in our article ‘Where did the Brits go?’

If you’d like to see more of this type of research, click here to join our Group of Influencers to tell us your areas of interest.

Perceptions of Data Adequacy Vary Across Managers


In the final article of our 4-part series on the results of our 2014 Survey of Use of Data in Barbadian Organisations, we delve deeper into managers’ perceptions of data adequacy. The first article in this series looked at The Relationship Between Data Practices and Financial Performance; the second considered Attitudes Towards External Information, while the third analysed How Companies Use Available Data.

In this final instalment, we looked at how the perceptions of data adequacy varied depending on managers’ levels, roles and functions. We found that there were noticeable differences when assessing their level of satisfaction with data availability and data usage, but there was little variation when considering their level of satisfaction with the perceived impact of data on their operations.

To read the entire article, click here.

If you’d like to see more of this type of research, join our AE Group of Influencers and let us know.

How Companies Use Available Information

In Part 3 of our 4-part series on the results of our 2014 Survey of Use of Data in Barbadian Organisations, we investigate the extent to which corporations use the data available to them to inform decision making. The first article in this series looked at The Relationship Between Data Practices and Financial Performance, while the second considered Attitudes Towards External Information.

In this third instalment, we found that respondents focused largely on internal financial and sales data, and there was significant room for improvement with respect to the use of economic, industry and online data. Furthermore, there was a noticeable difference in the data preferred by large companies versus small companies.

To read the entire article, click here.

If you’d like to see more of this type of research, join our AE Group of Influencers and let us know.

Attitudes Towards External Information

In Part 2 of our four-part series summarising the results of the 2014 Survey of Use of Data in Barbadian Organisations we investigate the attitudes towards information on the external environment. For the first article in this series please click here.

In Barbados, the main sources of external information are Government institutions and industry associations, with only limited information available from third party suppliers.

We found that respondents were, in general, dissatisfied with available information.

The financial and energy and renewable energy industries, however, were relatively more satisfied with their market information. Respondents were also willing to pay third party providers to improve their access to information on and their understanding of their external environment.

To read the entire article, click here.

If you’d like to see more of this type of research, join our AE Group of Influencers and let us know.