By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

May 2024

Every business, department or team has periods when things don’t go to plan. Targets may be  repeatedly missed. A marketing campaign delivers disappointing results. Team members either fail to give their best or their best seems some way short of good enough.

In these circumstances, it is easy to leap to more negative conclusions. Did the campaign idea misfire? Maybe some employees are incompetent? Does the organisation need a wholesale restructure?

That could be the case, but it rarely is. More often, underperformance is the result of confusion, miscommunication or a lack of motivation. In other words, it can often be turned around with a top-down commitment to better communication and making small but consistent improvements.



When things are not going well, one obvious conclusion is that people aren’t working hard enough.

In reality, it is often the case that at least some employees are working too hard and staying too late.

The first thing many successful businesses do during a period of underperformance is to promote better work/life balance. Nobody produces their best work when all they do is work. Counterintuitively, one of the solutions to underperformance might be for everyone to do a bit less but focus a bit more.

After that, underperformance requires a review of the working environment, and particularly the way information moves up and down the chain of command.

  • Are instructions properly communicated? Are they clear and relevant? Is there a way for those tasked with acting on instructions to ask questions or suggest refinements, and do managers listen to frontline staff? Do their line managers listen to them?
  • Do individuals understand their role? Do they understand not just what to do, but how that fits in with the rest of the team or department? Do they know where to go with concerns or questions? Are they adequately trained for the job in hand?
  • Do individuals take ownership? Do your people feel responsible for the successful completion of a task, or are they happy to ‘do their bit’ and leave anything else to others? Do they pass on useful information to other links in the chain and collaborate easily, or do teams and departments operate in a bubble?



Once issues have been identified, leaders must act. That might mean creating more effective communication channels and encouraging their use. It might mean extra training for staff, more consistent messages around company culture, or even granting more autonomy to key individuals or teams. It might mean being more tolerant of honest mistakes.

Whatever it is, it needs to be part of a strategy of continual improvement. Leaders should act quickly in the first instance, before inefficiency becomes a habit. Then they need to stay on top of the situation so better ways of working become part of company culture. That can be achieved in several ways:

  • Keep in touch. At UHY we recommend making use of regular Keep in Touch (KiT) meetings. These should be held throughout the organisation, ideally in a face-to-face setting as often as possible. KiTs should be part of a smooth two-way communication channel. Managers might use a KiT to ask frontline staff to focus more on a particular issue. Frontline staff should be free to suggest better ways to achieve this, or even to ask for more resources. KiTs should be a conversation, not a confrontation.
  • If an individual is clearly underperforming, KiT meetings should be a private and calm space to discuss the issues that might be impacting their work and suggest remedial action. That might include extra training, more flexible hours or clearer instructions from team leaders.
  • KiTs can also be used for regular (weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on the role) performance appraisals.


When individuals are clear in what they have to do and confident in their ability to do it, teams and departments tend to work more effectively. To make sure that is true, use SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) to define and measure targets.


When you see underperformance as a symptom of suboptimal systems and processes – rather than the result of individual failings – the solutions become more obvious. Communication is key. Give everyone a stake in turning poor performance around. Keep on top of the challenges teams and individuals face and be open to their ideas for making things better. 

As results improve, celebrate success. Build incentives, offer rewards and recognise improvement. When the period for urgent action is over, survey your team and find out what they think is and isn’t working, and solicit their ideas.

Sometimes, turning round underperformance requires more drastic action, but that should be a last resort. In most cases, implementing small, incremental and consistent improvements are all it takes.


Image credits:

1 Photo by Ketut Subiyanto at Pexels

2 Photo by fauxels at Pexels

3 Photo by fauxels at Pexels







UHY Global Real Estate guide 2024 – Out now!

In a globalising world, many investors, both corporate and private, are looking for opportunities internationally. While real estate is one of many investment options, the venture is unique in that it cannot be physically moved as most other assets can. Consequently, investors must conform to the rules and regulations of the country where the property is situated.

Like other major investments, proper planning is needed to avoid any pitfalls that may lie along the way and to minimise tax exposure.

The purpose of this Guide is to identify regulations (for example, the deduction of expenses and interest) and tax rates (for example, *VAT, wealth tax and inheritance tax) found in various countries that may affect property investments.

The contents have been carefully compiled by UHY experts in over 50 countries included in this Guide but are intended for general guidance only. Since legislation changes, you should refer to the appropriate UHY source or professional advisor for the most up-to-date details, or for more specific information.

I hope you find the UHY Global Real Estate Guide a valuable tool and introduction. Our member firm advisors look forward to helping you with your real estate ambitions.

Additional information for Editors

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 340 major business centres across more than 100 countries.

Our staff members, over 9,500 strong, are proud to be part of the 20th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org

For more information on UHY, please contact Felicity Sandford, marketing & business development manager, UHY International, Quadrant House, 4 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, UK.  Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email: f.sandford@uhy.com 






By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

January 2024

In 2024, every business needs a digital strategy. That is not the same as having a website and email address. It is about using digital processes, not only throughout your business but also, and perhaps most importantly, in the continual quest to improve customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty.

Like everyone else, business people live their lives in a world of apps and instant access. As consumers, they self-serve using banking apps, download train or concert tickets to digital wallets, and interact with brands via AI-powered chatbots. While they might not expect quite the same level of convenience and accessibility at work just yet, the gap between business experience and consumer experience is closing fast.

Increasingly, our member firms’ clients, for example, expect digital communication channels, self-serve options and cloud-based accounts they can access from anywhere. They want the service they receive in a virtual world to be as seamless and professional as the one they receive in its physical equivalent.


A good digital experience offers clients easy, intuitive routes to the information or services they seek. On one hand, that might be something as simple as making sure web pages and blogs link to the most relevant and up to date sources. On the other, it might mean offering clients self-serve account options, allowing them to pay bills or alter account details without having to pick up the phone.

Self-serve is increasingly popular in business-to-business (B2B) settings. A 2021 Gartner survey found that 43% of B2B customers would prefer to not interact with a salesperson at all. They want an entirely digital, self-serve process.  

With that in mind, the digital experience you offer needs to be both comprehensive and tailored to your own unique circumstances. For some, better client experiences might come from a cleaner, more logical website layout, while for others they may come from omnichannel communications (integrated email, instant message, chat and voice services). Or they may come from offering a simple and secure digital document repository.

Good digital plans can also have positive impacts in unforeseen ways. For example, when initiatives remove tedious and repetitive tasks from an employee’s day, it gives them more time to spend on higher value work, which might include forging better relationships with clients.


It is clear that digital innovation for better client experience has to touch every part of your organisation, integrating tools and information flows across teams and departments. This is why digital transformation should be driven by an overarching strategy. The ad hoc implementation of digital tools across an organisation can lead to information silos, fragmented services, and ultimately frustrated clients.

A seamless digital experience requires consistency around planning, implementation and operation. Digital innovation might be led by IT professionals, but it must be championed by committed leaders across the business. Employee education and training is essential. If you are giving clients digital options, colleagues have to know how to use the relevant tools, as well as understanding the benefits and implications for their own roles and workflows.

This leads us to consider that a digital strategy is a journey rather than a destination. Technology does not stand still. If you offer a digital experience (and you should) clients will expect you to keep up-to-date. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can offer clients more personalised and customised services. If you are not looking into the potential of AI in your business now, you probably should be soon. It is important to explore new ways to regularly innovate and improve the digital experience – and reach new customers.


Having said all of this, digital strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Some markets are more digitally advanced than others. Expectations may differ from region to region, or from one industry to the next. Businesses need to pick the best-fit digital strategy for their resources and circumstances.

The crucial point is that everyone should be doing something and doing it with a clear vision. In my profession, our member firms and their clients increasingly expect smooth and seamless digital experiences, and many prefer to interact virtually, at least some of the time. Whatever the details of your own digital strategy, the key is to commit to it wholeheartedly. Digital is not a bolt-on or a nice-to-have anymore. It is integral to the way business happens today.


1Source:Gartner Keynote: ‘B2B Sales Must Focus on Seller-Assisted Digital Experiences’


Image credits:

Colleagues: Mizuno K – Pexels

User experience: iStock – StudioU

Transactions: Yan Krukau – Pexels