Attracting and retaining skilled staff ranks highest on executive agendas for 2005, according to a global study by consultancy Accenture.
The study, conducted annually, comprised interviews with 425 senior executives at leading organisations in North America, Europe and Asia, to identify and prioritise the issues of greatest concern to senior management, understand how their priorities shift over time, and identify key forces behind the issues.
Workforce improvement issues dominated the top priorities, accounting for four in 10 of the most commonly cited concerns. The majority of respondents (35%) selected ‘attracting and retaining skilled staff’ as a top priority, followed by 33% who cited ‘changing organisational cultural and employee attitudes’.
“The most powerful theme emerging this year is a strong and consistent focus on people,” said Peter Cheese, global managing partner of Accenture’s Human Performance practice.
“Even though the business conversations have centered on global competition and the need for execution, business leaders are increasingly aware that nothing happens unless ‘people talent’ is engaged in the right way.”
Customer retention issues also occupy top spots on executive agendas. ‘Acquiring new customers’ (32%) and ‘increasing customer loyalty and retention’ (29%) were popular responses across all countries surveyed.
Top 10 current business issues for senior executives Percentage of respondents selecting issues
1. Attracting and retaining skilled staff 35%
2. Changing organizational culture and employee attitudes 33%
3. Acquiring new customers 32%
4. Developing new processes and products to stay ahead of the competition 29%
5. Increasing customer loyalty and retention 29%
6. Managing risk 29%
7. Improving workforce performance 28%
8. Increasing shareholder value 27%
8. Using IT to reduce costs and create value 27%
9. Being flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing market conditions 26%
10. Developing employees into capable leaders 26%