2022 CEO priority list: Build trust with workers while managing inflation, turnover and COVID-19

Newest PwC Pulse Survey finds that executives are optimistic about enterprise progress regardless of ongoing labor and supply-chain challenges.


PwC’s newest Pulse survey of 678 executives in January 2022 discovered that firm leaders anticipate to be coping with vital enterprise challenges all yr.

Picture: PwC

CEOs are optimistic about progress in 2022 whereas nonetheless anticipating continued challenges from COVID, inflation and turnover, in response to a brand new survey from PwC. Executives anticipate the present excessive charge of resignations to proceed all yr with solely 31% predicting that hiring shall be simpler by December.

Board members see folks administration as a prime problem with 73% planning to commit extra time to range, fairness and inclusion work. Firms will proceed to depend on hybrid work choices, profession development alternatives, elevated pay, everlasting distant work and higher advantages to maintain folks from quitting.

“2022 shall be an vital yr for employers to construct belief between employers and workers, as they search to stabilize their groups and place for progress,” stated Julia Lamm, PwC workforce transformation principal, in a press launch.

“Hiring and retaining expertise” is the highest precedence by 17 factors however solely 60% plan to “make investments lots” to unravel the issue. That’s virtually equal to the variety of respondents planning to speculate lots in digital transformation initiatives. 

Lamm stated that she has seen firms investing in managers to enhance their expertise in main distant groups that may embrace contract and full-time workers.

“Firms are investing in managers with the ability to oversee and direct people who find themselves not a straight-line report back to them, and to assist managers navigate these complexities,” she stated.

Tim Ryan, U.S. chair and senior associate stated one other think about retention is long-term funding in range and worker engagement.

“When that is finished effectively over time, it is positively affecting turnover charges,” he stated. “I just lately talked with two firms within the southeast U.S. which might be bucking the turnover development of their business due to longstanding investments in folks.”

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Lamm additionally stated that firms cannot “purchase their method out” of the turnover problem solely by rising wages.

“Firms are wanting internally to develop abilities as effectively and enthusiastic about find out how to construct tradition just about and create mentoring alternatives,” she stated.

The continued pandemic and vaccine mandates

Most executives within the survey suppose COVID-19 will turn into “one thing companies and society should dwell with” within the coming yr. The survey was carried out earlier than the Supreme Court docket’s determination that OSHA doesn’t have the authority to require vaccination at massive employers. On the time, 33% of respondents require vaccination for workers working in individual and can proceed to take action. A smaller group–23%–require vaccination now however stated this rule could also be lifted sooner or later. The smallest group at 16% have dropped the requirement “in response to labor shortages.”

Ryan stated that firms can construct belief with workers by being clear and clearly speaking COVID insurance policies, no matter they might be. 

“CEOs found out rapidly that they can not make everybody pleased however they’ll clarify what, why and the way you are doing it, particularly once you’re pivoting,” he stated. “Definitely it is a reflection of how firms deal with their workers, and it is a possibility to construct belief or erode it.”

Coping with inflation

A majority of respondents anticipate inflation to proceed via the yr and a equally sized group (62%) expects to lift costs for items and companies in 2022 as effectively. 

Neil Dhar, vice chair and consulting options co-leader, stated addressing this problem in addition to supply-chain points requires executives to work collectively throughout enterprise items.

“Many enterprise leaders are coping with this for the primary time, which suggests they’re all studying collectively find out how to handle via this,” he stated. “It’s demanding elevated consideration and new expertise from these leaders.”

Fifty-five % of respondents anticipate increased company tax charges within the U.S. as effectively. Ken Kuykendall, U.S. tax chief at PwC, stated the survey discovered that 93% of CIOs search to align digital methods with tax methods.

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“Forty-three % of those leaders are contemplating accelerating digital transformation initiatives in response to world tax modifications,” he stated. 

He beneficial that tax professionals have a seat on the government desk to cope with new and anticipated laws.

“The survey confirmed that 70% of CIOs could also be bringing in tax leaders too late for them so as to add worth,” he stated. 

Issues in 2022

PwC analysts advocate awaiting these traits within the coming yr:

  • Labor prices can have the strongest influence on company margins in 2022
  • Inflation considerations will have an effect on fiscal and financial coverage
  • Firms will face evolving world information and privateness laws

PwC carried out the survey from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14, 2022, which included 678 U.S. executives comprised primarily of CFOs and finance leaders (19%), CHROs and human capital leaders (14%), tax leaders (14%), danger administration leaders, together with CROs, CAEs and CISOs (14%), COOs and operations leaders (12%), CIOs, CTOs and expertise leaders (15%) and company board administrators (12%). Respondents have been from private and non-private firms in six sectors: industrial merchandise (26%), client markets (24%), monetary companies (23%), expertise, media and telecom (14%), well being industries (6%), power and utilities (5%).

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