C-Suite Needs to Collaborate to Tackle Workforce Challenges

April 27, 2018
While 85% of survey respondents favored a symphonic C-suite — a team-based, cross-disciplinary approach to tackling complex issues — 73% say their executives do not regularly collaborate.

Most executives at manufacturing companies will tell you that their biggest concern has to do with the workforce. Issues range from finding enough workers,  making sure employees have the right technical skills or losing experienced workers to retirement.

A recent study from Deloitte, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise,” examined the increasing expectations of the workforce and the accelerated pace at which technology is shaping organizations' human capital priorities. 

"As society grapples with daunting demographic, technological and social challenges, people want business leaders to fill the gap, but our research shows they have a long way to go," said Erica Volini, principal, Deloitte Consulting, LLP., U.S. human capital leader.

"This year's report is a wake-up call for organizations to look beyond their own four walls and reimagine their broader roles in society. Integrating the C-suite to build a more social enterprise will be a differentiator for businesses to attract the right talent, drive customer loyalty and sustain long-term growth."

While 85% of survey respondents favored a  symphonic C-suite — a team-based, cross-disciplinary approach to tackling complex issues — 73% say their executives do not regularly collaborate.

This lack of co-operation has consequences on the company’s success as the survey showed that companies where C-suite executives regularly collaborate are one-third more likely to be growing 10% more than companies whose leadership operates in siloes.

One of the areas that leadership will need to collaborate on is how automation will affect the workforce. The Deloitte research shows that more than 4 in 10 companies believe automation will have a major impact on jobs, and 61% are now actively redesigning jobs around AI and robotics. Additionally, 72% of HR and business leaders rated the topic of AI as important or very important.

While companies realize this change will involve building skills for the future, more than 54% do not currently have these types of programs in place and only 18% feel they give employees opportunities to develop themselves.

Addressing Individual’s Needs

In addition to investing in employees' professional development, organizations must also rethink how they invest in their employees on a personal level. Forty-three percent of those surveyed say well-being reinforces their organization's mission, 60% say it improves employee retention, and 61% say it improves productivity and bottom-line results.

However, only 3% of companies think their reward offerings are very effective at motivating talent. In a new social enterprise, companies must explore more frequent rewards and other incentives like vacation time or student-loan forgiveness.

"Personalized incentives and well-being strategies are key differentiators in talent acquisition and retention, particularly in a tight labor market," said Volini. "Once-a-year reviews and bonuses are table-stakes in today's enterprises. Expanding rewards and well-being strategies is critical for the C-suite if they want to attract and retain the right individuals."

The skills required of the workforce will change as well. Executives anticipate a growing requirement for complex problem-solving (63%), cognitive abilities (55%), and social skills (52%).

To that end, 70% of respondents believe workers will spend more time on collaboration platforms in the future and 67% anticipate a growth in "work-based social media." As a flood of new workplace communications tools augments team-based work, 47% of organizations cite the productivity of the hyperconnected workforce as a very important issue.

Role of Corporate Social Responsibility

Organizations find they are increasingly expected to exercise their ability to do social good, both externally for customers, communities and society, as well as internally for their employees. True social enterprises must take a total stakeholder approach to pressing public issues to maintain reputation and relevancy.

With more pressure on businesses to be good citizens and engineer solutions to critical social challenges, citizenship must be a core part of an organization's identity and mission. In fact, 77% of survey respondents cited citizenship as important or very important. According to the "Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017,” millennials' high expectations for corporate responsibility is a strong contributor, with 76% regarding business as a force for positive social impact.

Despite the emerging link between social impact and companies' financial performance, only 18% of respondents say citizenship is a top priority in corporate strategy. Thirty-four percent have few or poorly funded citizenship programs, and 22% are not focused on this at all.

"Corporate citizenship is now a CEO-level strategy and critical to a company's bottom line," said Josh Bersin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and founder and editor-in-chief of  Bersin. "It's not about check-the-box CSR initiatives, but integrating citizenship, fairness, inclusion, and purpose as core values across work practices. Customers and employees alike are holding companies to higher standards than ever before and rewarding companies who demonstrate socially-conscious behavior with unwavering loyalty." 

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