Less than a fifth of businesses say they have the talent to survive the next five years


JC Townend, CEO UK & Ireland – LHH

Just 16% of business leaders believe their organisation currently has the skills and talent it needs to survive the next five years. This research forms part of a wider study to discover business pain points and priorities a year on from COVID-19.

Business Survival
We asked the C-Suite what measures they will need to take for business survival, with investment in new technology, upskilling the workforce, and restructuring the organisation coming out as the top three choices.

Recognizing the importance of upskilling, 40% of C-Suite leaders have already taken the active steps and run training sessions for employees since lockdown measures came into effect. In addition, 40% of CHROs are actively working on a long term training and development plan for the workforce.

Commenting on the findings, JC Townend, CEO for the UK & Ireland, LHH said:  “There’s always been a need for continuous training and development in business, and the pandemic has brought this into sharper focus. Some organizations have had to fundamentally change how they deliver services, making some roles redundant or no longer mission critical. Many employees have had to branch into new areas that would have never normally been part of their role.

“New skills are required to support this shift and business leaders see the opportunity to enhance careers, protect employees and shape the future of work in a way that benefits all. Changes in technology, work practices, and business models have also created a demand for continuous, lifelong development and this can bring significant value to the workforce.”

Board-Level Concerns
Unsurprisingly, business leaders have had a lot on their mind during this time, and this has been echoed in our research. The top two concerns expressed by members of the C-Suite were their own mental health and wellbeing, plus the stress of navigating changing government restrictions – with 69% and 68% calling out these issues respectively.

The research also highlighted that 67% were concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of their employees, 65% worried about having to make an organizational restructure, and 64% worried about having to make job cuts.

However, despite the concerns occupying the thoughts of the majority of board members, the research found that these are not always being expressed to the HR department. Only 25% had shared these concerns with their HR leader.

JC Townend, CEO for the UK & Ireland, LHH said: “This year has undoubtedly challenged businesses across the globe, no matter the size or the sector. These initial findings of the concerns of the C-suite are expected, but what is a cause for concern is the lack of communication with the HR leader.”

Looking Ahead
Business leaders are looking ahead to the future. 34% said they were most looking forward to welcoming fresh talent into the business, 32% are excited to try new working practices and 31% are looking forward to creating new teams and departments.

JC Townend, CEO of the UK & Ireland, LHH concluded: “The world of work has changed, to some extent irreversibly, and while it brings with it some challenges, it also brings great opportunity.  Those in the best place to survive will be those that focus on the human capital issues that have changed so dramatically.  The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of managing and engaging the workforce well into even sharper focus.  And the best business leaders are bringing HR into strategic planning and board level discussions, and not just during pandemic times.”


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