A recent Gartner survey of 400 CEOs and senior executives worldwide suggests that HR and benefit issues have become more noticeable among a dozen business and technology priorities within the past two years.
Although these leaders are largely focused on improving customer service and satisfaction, “they have become much more concerned about employee issues than a couple of years ago,” Mark Raskino, a U.K.-based vice president and fellow for the CEO research team at Gartner, Inc., noted in a statement.
“The emphasis is as much on benefits, retention and training of mainstream staff,” he said. “It is not constrained only to senior grade ‘talent’ issues.”
In terms of strategic business priorities over the past two years, the workforce ranked No. 3 among 12 topics at 27% in the 2016 study, which was slightly up from 24% in the 2015. That compared to growth, which led all categories at 54% in each of those years, and customer, which rose to 31% from 21% within the past year.
Efficiency and productivity ranked at the bottom among all of the corporate priorities at 9% in 2016 and 7% in 2015 – a 1.6% difference. Other top-of-mind issues that ranked at or below the workforce included corporate and IT-related categories, as well as profit improvement, product improvements, financial and quality improvements.
The human factor
Gartner also pointed out that in some areas where unemployment has been steadily falling, “getting the right staff to service customers well and the talent to lead them has also become harder. The human factor is to the fore this year – focusing more on customers and staff as people, and a little less on the company as an operating machine or financial model.”
Another key finding was that, despite challenging business conditions, strategic investments are still being approved in the C-suite, particularly with regard to digital business transformation. All respondents were connected to organizations with more than $250 million in annual revenue, excluding technology vendors.
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