The majority of executives plan to spend extra cash on strategic initiatives that streamline their operations or improve the customer experience. (Image: Shutterstock)
Talent remains a huge issue for executives, they are spending extra cash on strategic projects that are digital in nature and cybersecurity is top of mind. These are the key takeaways from the latest West Monroe Quarterly Executive poll.
Talent. Far and away, executives cited hiring and retention as the top threat to their business in the third quarter. Their biggest challenge? Not finding people with the right skill set.
“Many businesses have re-evaluated everything during the pandemic from workplace policies to geographic locations to operating models, and now their talent strategies have shifted as a result,” said West Monroe’s Dave HIllborn. “The type of talent they need to execute their new organizational strategy may not be the talent they currently have.”
Related: Flexibility, remote work and DEI focus key to tackling today’s hiring challenges
Cybersecurity. More than six in 10 executives said they have conducted a cybersecurity incident response drill in 2021.
“Cyberattacks not only implicate customer data but more importantly, disrupt service delivery,” warns West Monroe’s Sean Curran. “Therefore, prolonged service disruptions do far more damage to customers than data breaches alone.”
Spending. Only one in 10 said they are not spending the extra cash on their balance sheet, while the majority are spending it on strategic initiatives that streamline their operations or improve the customer experience.
The poll also explored a number of other business topics.
Top threat to business:
- Hiring and workforce retention, 49%
- Cyber-attacks, 13%
- Inflation, 10%
- Adapting to hybrid work, 9%
- Expect to hire more people, 77%
- Expect to lay off more people, 4%
- Little to no change, 19%
Biggest challenge related to hiring:
- Not enough people with the right skill set, 51%
- Heightened competition from other employers, 16%
- Can’t keep up with turnover and attrition, 11%
Top business opportunity in third quarter:
- Digital, 52%
- Mergers and acquisitions, 18%
- Data, 15%
- Providing employees engaging work, 8%
Plans to spend extra cash by end of year:
- Investing in internal strategic projects and assets, 45%
- Investing in customer-facing strategic projects, 36%
- Paying down debt, 26%
Investments to make operating model more digital:
- Automated, iterative data-driven management, 60%
- Cloud-based platforms leveraging common frameworks, 53%
Changing preferences among customer base:
- Ease of doing business, 79%
- Becoming more individual-centric, 73%
- Increased buying decisions aligned to values/politics/social causes, 71%
- Heightened need for self-service, 71%
- Hit by cybersecurity attack in 2021, 85%
- Conducted a cybersecurity response drill this year, 62%
- Accepting crypto payments, 1%