Response base: 2,000 senior executives
Source: Economist Impact Survey 2022
Engaged, motivated and satisfied employees are key to making a business future-ready. However, that belief doesn’t show up on a list of business-critical priorities for half of respondents. In order to meet the needs of the modern business, particularly as new complex technologies fundamentally change the world of work, it’s time to focus on talent and the employee experience as vital components of any business strategy.
The real value of tech initiatives
In the race to scale and maintain competitiveness, companies have done a great job of focusing on the “how.” Study respondents embraced a range of technologies; more than half have adopted or plan to adopt every technology system or tool listed. But when it comes to the purpose of digital transformation efforts—such as streamlining processes, cutting costs and innovating business models—there’s a human element that’s tied to enhancing the employee experience.
For example, streamlining processes through automation frees up time and energy that employees can dedicate to higher order activities like decision making. Cutting costs takes pressure out of the system and improves organizational harmony. Within a more cohesive corporate environment, teams can collaborate on value-added initiatives that produce net-new offerings that better serve customer interests, power experiences and meet their demands.
In short, a primary value of investing in technology is how these initiatives impact employees. This connection between technology and the promise it holds for the workforce should be clear in both corporate strategy and prioritized investments.
In the study, however, this connection isn’t clear and may prove to be the next critical business challenge of our time. Executives reported two of the top challenges they face today are a lack of sufficient labor and a lack of knowledgeable staff (see Figure 2).
The research also reveals that these twin challenges are common among businesses of all sizes. It all points toward an accelerating competition for skills and a war for talent that hinges on not just compensation packages, perks and benefits, but also on employee satisfaction itself.
Talent challenges plague the modern business
Respondents were asked what the most significant challenges were when implementing new processes, services and technologies in the past year. (Percentage of respondents selecting each challenge. Respondents were allowed to select up to five challenges)