Boyden Executive Survey

Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world

How can global business leaders deliver on ambitions of growth and reinvention?

Conclusion: Reinventing the mindset

After a Herculean effort to sustain business through the pandemic by leaders, managers and their teams, the vast majority of respondents are confident in the growth potential of their organisations. However, lack of talent aligned to strategy is a major challenge and threatens recovery through 2022. Findings also show a lack of alignment at board level, where the matrix of skills is in question, and across the leadership team, where there are serious discrepancies in thinking.

For leaders to deliver on ambitions of growth and reinvention, it will be crucial to address this lack of alignment.

The good news is that leaders are investing in realignment of talent. They are prioritising leadership development for high potentials, leadership assessment and development across teams, hiring new talent, and revising performance measurement to align culture and behaviours with business objectives. However, board assessment, essential for delivering on growth potential, is insufficient. Achieving alignment across the leadership team is an ongoing challenge.

Strong concerns over retention and recruitment will be abated somewhat for organisations that have a strong reputation and demonstrate a sense of purpose, underlining the importance of external as well as internal communication. In hiring leaders through executive search, valuable intelligence is gathered throughout the search process, revealing how brands are perceived in the market, which competitors are favoured as potential employers and why. With leaders reticent to move in this market, shaping the right proposition has never been more important.

Methodology & demographics

The survey was distributed to senior executives worldwide from April 1, 2021 to May 14, 2021. A total of 528 complete responses comprise 43% from Europe, 35% from the Americas, and 18% from APAC. Respondents include 37% board/president/CEOs, 23% division or country head executives, 22% heads of human resources, with a remainder of executives across multiple functions including finance, operations, marketing and technology. Industrial sector and consumer & retail each account for 23% of responses, followed by 14% within professional services, 12% from technology/media/telecoms, 11% from financial services, and 10% from healthcare & life sciences. The remainder of responses are from private equity, social impact (non-profit/government), and academic sectors. By organisation, 27% are from publicly quoted, 35% from private/independent, 20% from private/family-owned, with the remainder from social enterprise, start-up and private equity backed.

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