After years of lip service about the importance of people to their organisation, a new survey by KPMG reveals that the economic downturn has elevated ‘people matters’ to the top 5 concerns for business leaders across Europe and the Middle East.
KPMG’s Business Leaders Survey – based on the views of 3,000 business leaders – suggests that managing and retaining the right people within the organisation is critical for 1 in 4 senior executives (24 percent). It is an issue only beaten to ‘top spot’ in the list of priorities by concerns over cash flow, with business leaders focusing on how they can change operations to become cost efficient (43 per cent), improve cash management (32 per cent), exploit growth opportunities (30 percent) and prepare for major business model changes (25 percent) dominating thoughts in the Boardroom.
Anna Marie Detert, director in KPMG’s People and Change consulting practice, says: “Last year, people issues didn't even figure as a top ten priority for global business leaders; this year they rank in fifth place. The simple fact is that Boardrooms have realised that they cannot afford to lose good people. Their major challenges, as our survey proves, are cost efficiencies, improving cash management and finding new avenues for growth – yet each of these hinges on identifying new people capabilities to deliver on revised business models.”
Asked what managing and retaining top talent actually means, respondents to the survey suggest that ‘motivating people is their highest priority’ (43 per cent). A third (30 per cent) also claim that offering development opportunities to their key people is critical. Given concerns over cash management, it is telling that just 12 percent still focus on pay and reward as a retention tool.
Anna Marie Detert concludes: “Clearly, lessons have been learned from past recessions. Without high-potential future leaders and individuals with business critical skills, it is simply not possible to drive through important initiatives that can restore or improve an organisation's economic status. This fact is further validated by the 90 percent of business leaders who do not prioritize cutting the cost of the workforce.”
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or
Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.