Retaining skilled staff is top of executive agenda

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.

Survey findings

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% 


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