Business leaders prioritising employee development to help drive better performance in 2014
When it comes to optimising efficiency or trimming off the fat, the instinct of employers is to minimise expenditure and redirect resources. Unfortunately, as government cutbacks and recent labour market trends have indicated, this often results in redundancy for the average nine-to-fiver. However, it is hard to escape the feeling that things are finally starting to take a turn for the better. And it is refreshing indeed to report that CEOs and business leaders are identifying and prioritising human capital as being crucial to their chances of success in 2014.
Certainly, if new research from business research body The Conference Board and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is anything to go by, an emphasis on talent development as the pathway to business efficacy and expansion appears to be something of a global consensus. Findings from their survey of CEOs, presidents, and chairmen from more than 1,000 companies indicates that the number one priority for business leaders around the world is to reshape workplace culture, with employee engagement and better management at its heart. This should in turn stimulate competitiveness, raise productivity and, of course, win new customers, it goes on to suggest.
In addition to this, the survey ascertained that determining how best to develop, engage, manage, and retain talent are some of the more pressing challenges that businesses currently face. Increasingly crucial to these leaders is the creation of a strong internal talent force, which, some would argue, could negate the need for external recruitment. Tellingly, the research revealed that nine out of the top ten human capital strategies selected globally are focusing on providing training for current employees and raising employee engagement. Senior vice president of the Conference Board, Rebecca Ray, certainly shares in this belief. “If [this] focus of individual companies is sustained, human capital may well be the engine that revives economic growth," she commented.
In a similar vein, the CMI’s director of strategy, Petra Wilton, highlights the significance of such an approach for the UK. “Building world-class workforces is a top challenge for CEOs who are looking to help their organisations hit new levels of performance in 2014," she said. "This new global research is a reminder that it’s imperative the UK keeps up with international competitors. If UK businesses are to get productivity up to pre-recession levels and compete globally, talent development must be a priority."
Who are we to argue with that?