Boyden Executive Survey

Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world: North America

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

Executive Summary

In this regional analysis of Boyden's global report, Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world, we highlight findings and trends in North America with sector insight from Boyden partners.

Looking ahead to 2022, global business confidence is high with strong forecasts for advanced economies, particularly the United States1. Business has accelerated through the pandemic, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reaching all-time record highs in mid-20212.

Our study data shows the majority of respondents, 75%, as very confident/confident in their organization’s growth potential through 2022. Over half are in growth or expansion mode. Confidence in having the right talent to align to organizational strategy is much lower, with just 43% very confident/confident. Talent leaders are having to ‘reinvent talent,’ revising talent strategies, investment, performance measurement and the cultural environment.

Lack of alignment goes up to the board level: More than half of respondents think a different matrix of skills is needed on the board and 45% expect to invest in board assessment, compared to 38% globally.

Hiring new talent is the top priority for investment in talent, closely followed by leadership development and hiring more diverse executives. The top three areas for hiring are technology/cloud/cybersecurity, marketing & sales and diversity & inclusion leaders.

Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) is a strong theme: 41% of respondents are considering new approaches to measuring executive performance, with effectiveness of DEI policies and ensuring inclusion in company culture among the main drivers.

How can organizations attract the best talent at the senior and board level? Respondents point to the overarching driver, a purpose-driven organization, as well as a strong reputation and workplace of the future.

SECTOR INSIGHTS

Consumer & retail is the most bullish sector, with 91% of respondents very confident/confident in their organization’s growth prospects, and the majority in growth or expansion mode. However, these respondents are the least confident in having the right talent to align with organizational strategy, with only 17% feeling confident. Therefore 75% expect to invest in leadership development. These respondents are also the most concerned about talent retention and expect to utilize interim talent solutions through 2022.

Healthcare & life sciences respondents are also bullish, with 88% very confident/confident in their organization’s growth prospects. They have the narrowest gap between business and talent confidence, with 63% very confident and confident about having the right talent to align with strategy. Healthcare respondents are in the lead on learning or transformation, with 40% pursuing this business approach through 2022.

Tech company participants offer the most varied responses: Only 20% are confident about having the right talent to align with strategy and 80% think a different matrix of skills is needed on the board. While 50% are in growth or expansion mode, the remainder are in learning or transformation mode, waiting to get back to normal, or in survival mode.

<< Compare to Global Study >>

We explore these findings further across five core themes: 

  1. A barometer on confidence 
  2. The right talent
  3. Hiring priorities 
  4. Reinventing the board
  5. Talent look ahead 

Throughout this report, under the segment 'A closer look', we highlight key sector and leadership insights from Boyden experts across North America.

[1] IMF World Economic Outlook July 2021; [2] CNBC

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