Monday, July 30, 2012

What is Priority #1 for CEOs?

Straight out, the answer is “getting and keeping talent!” As one CEO once said to me, “I am recruiting all the time!”

And PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2012 Global CEO Study of more than 1250 company leaders from 60 countries makes it official: talent is priority #1 for CEOs. Moreover, not having the right talent in place is a leading threat to growth, according to chief executives.


One in four said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent constraints. One in three is concerned that skills shortages have impacted their company’s ability to innovate effectively, the Study finds.

When asked to what extent a CEO anticipates changes at the company, and in what areas, strategies for managing talent commanded 55% — the largest percentage among the various categories considered.

One of those changes, the Study finds, is that 79% of CEOs already have or will have their human resources directors as one of their direct reports. Another change is that they will attempt to get more data on their workforce. Only a minority currently receive comprehensive reports on workforce productivity. Areas in which they would like more information include:

• Staff productivity.

• Employees’ views and needs.

• Labor costs.

• Assessment of internal advancement.

• ROI on human capital.

• Costs of employee turnover.

All of this data will help companies strengthen performance, according to Andrew Goldberg, EVP and head of Makovsky’s Corporate Advisors Practice. “But one of the keys to improved performance,” he emphasized, “is strong employee engagement.”

An earlier study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board has shown that employees who were the most committed to their organization gave 57% more effort and were 87% less likely to resign than employees who considered themselves disengaged. Goldberg recommends conducting engagement studies to determine barriers to high performance and actions that will motivate commitment.

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