Seventy-seven percent of company CEOs say they plan to prioritize employee well-being even if it affects near-term profitability.
That’s according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value study, which also revealed a top challenge for many surveyed CEOs over the next few years is managing an “anywhere” workforce. CEOs of outperforming organizations – those who were in the top 20 percent for revenue growth of those surveyed – are prioritizing talent, technology and partnerships to position their companies for success post-COVID-19 pandemic.
IBM’s annual study found the majority of CEOs surveyed reported empowering a remote workforce was their top priority during 2020. Half of outperforming company CEOs surveyed said managing a remote “anywhere” workforce is a top leadership challenge over the next few years, compared to 25% of underperformers, companies in the bottom 20% for revenue growth of those surveyed.
The report also said that leaders need to consider carefully the longer-term challenge of a hybrid work environment, which can include things like providing employees with digital, cloud-enabled tools for collaboration, preventing employee burnout or sustaining company culture with focus on diversity and inclusion.
- Voluntary Attrition: In a related IBV survey of more than 14,000 global consumers, one in four employees surveyed reported they are planning to change employers in 2021, citing the need for a more flexible work schedule or location as a top reason why.
- Diversity: Only 17% of CEOs surveyed ranked diversity and inclusion among the most important organizational attributes for engaging employees.
“The COVID-19 pandemic challenged many leaders to focus on what’s essential, like their people,” said Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services. “Many employees’ expectations of their employers have significantly changed. The ‘anywhere’ workforce can require leaders to provide agile technology, to adopt more empathetic leadership models that prioritize employee well-being and to champion flexible and inclusive cultures.”