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2013-05-16

Managing Human Capital a Top Challenge for CEOs: Survey

A FICCI-The Conference Board CEO Challenge Survey 2013 drew responses from over 700 CEOs, Presidents and Chairmen across the globe, 60 of them from India. \\r\\n \\r\\n

A FICCI-The Conference Board CEO Challenge Survey 2013 drew responses from over 700 CEOs, Presidents and Chairmen across the globe, 60 of them from India.

Four of the five top challenges selected by the global respondents to this year’s survey - Human Capital, Operational Excellence, Innovation and Customer Relationships - show executives determination to ‘control the controllable’ and prime their organisations for the slow-growth slog ahead.

In the survey, human capital was named the number-one challenge in both Asia and Europe. In Europe it rose dramatically from seventh place a year ago. In all three regions — as well as in China and India individually — CEOs’ top strategy for addressing human capital is growing talent internally. Globally, provide employee training and development and raise employee engagement are also primary responses.

According to the survey, a new challenge category, operational excellence, encompasses strategies for creating a more efficient, cost-effective organisation. (It replaces CEO Challenge 2012’s cost optimisation category.) Across regions, raising employee engagement and productivity is seen as key to this objective. In Asia — where growth has tempered but is still relatively strong — invest more in key technologies is also a major strategy for CEOs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, US and European CEOs are focused more on reducing baseline costs.

Innovation, last year’s top global challenge, fell to third place. Although Asian CEOs named invest in new technologies as their key approach, six of the top 10 global strategies for innovation draw on human capital, including creating a culture of innovation, develop innovation skills for all employees, and find, engage and incentivise innovative staff. In the US and Asia the high rank given to engage in strategic alliances with customers, suppliers, and/or business partners reflects a longer-term strategy for growth.

Globally, customer relationships rose from 2012’s seventh most-pressing challenge to fourth. CEO’s top-two strategies reveal a mutually supportive two-pronged approach to the challenge: enhance quality of products/services and sharpen understanding of customer/client needs.

The Conference Board is a not-for-profit organisation which creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society.

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