CEOs and CMOs of companies around the world believe that attracting, retaining and energizing employees will be the key to success in 2018, with a bigger impact than the strength of the global economy, changes in the political environment or global instability.
That’s according to a new global survey, the Worldcom Confidence Index, released this week by Worldcom Public Relations Group. Worldcom is the largest global partnership of independent public relations firms. Linhart PR has been a member since 2007. You can download the full report here: https://worldcomgroup.com/resources/confidence-index
The survey found three threats to business performance are foremost for global C-suite executives: government or legislative changes; the lack of available talent; and cybercrime. Employees and their behavior impact each, because employees must ensure regulatory compliance and protect against cybercrime.
Although CEOs and CMOs see talent management as essential, their confidence in the ability of their organizations to attract and retain employees is low. Attracting talent ranks 17th out of 18 confidence index factors; retaining talent ranks only a little higher, at 15th.
Because CEOs and CMOs see the battle for talent as the key to success in 2018, more survey respondents said they’ll place employees at the top of the list of priority audiences. In 2017, 14 percent of leaders gave employees the most audience attention, only about a third as much as customers and on par with shareholders. In 2018, 20% of leaders say employees will get the most attention, closing the prioritization gap with customers and overtaking shareholders.
The ability to satisfy customers is the biggest source of optimism among CEOs and CMOs, ranking highest on the confidence index (31.3), compared with low rankings for the ability to retain the best talent (23.8) and to attract the best talent (23.0). Leaders of small companies are more likely to be confident their customers are satisfied (21%) than those at large companies (11%), but paradoxically, large company leaders have more confidence in their ability to satisfy customers (38%) than small (25%).
Customers will remain the top priority audience in 2018, with 41% of respondents planning to give them the most attention, although this is down slightly vs. 2017, as the intent to focus on employees has increased.
Cybercrime ranked third on the list of threats for global CEOs and CMOs, after government or legislative changes and the lack of available talent. Leaders at larger companies are more confident in their ability to be protected against cybercrime, as are younger leaders, compared with older ones. Nevertheless, confidence on cybercrime defense ranked lowest on the list.
In addition to ranking issues seen by leaders as threats to business success, the Worldcom Confidence Index explains how confidence varies by region and demographics; and presents 11 recommendations for leaders to increase the probability of business success in 2018. We’ll address these sections of the report here in the coming days.