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Indian CEOs to Prioritize Employee Well-being Over Profit

Four out of 10 Indian CEOs would give priority to employee well-being over near-term profit, according to a study by IBM.


Four out of 10 Indian CEOs would give priority to employee well-being over near-term profit, according to a study by IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV).

The findings of the study, which polled 3000 CEOs across 26 industries and nearly 50 countries including India, mentioned that 41% of company CEOs in India plan to prioritize employee well-being even if it affects near-term profitability, reflecting that many surveyed leaders are heavily focused on their people at this moment.

The study conducted in cooperation with Oxford Economics, noted, a majority of the Indian CEOs surveyed, see technological factors, market factors and regulatory concerns, managing an ‘Anywhere’ workforce among the most important external forces expected to affect their business in the next few years, following the massive disruptions of 2020.

Global CEOs of outperforming organizations – those who were in the top 20% for revenue growth of those surveyed – are prioritizing talent, technology and partnerships to position their companies for success post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian CEOs across the board, said IoT, Cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotic process automation and advanced analytics are the top technologies that they believe can deliver benefits for their business. This corroborates that many global surveyed CEOs also placed the CIO and CTO in their post-pandemic inner circle of most crucial C-Suite members.

“We are living in an all-pervasive digital world and enterprises must transform with speed to remain relevant and win. This study validates the success factor that CEOs across the world will continue to imbibe in their businesses and workforce – that of co-creation and co-innovation, led by stronger partner ecosystems,” said Sandip Patel, managing director, IBM India/South Asia.

In addition, this year, regulation leapfrogged to second spot, cited as an external force that will affect business in the next few years by over half the CEOs globally, reflecting a rising assertiveness by governments around privacy, data, trade and—amplified by COVID-19—health.

Outperforming company CEOs are also more focused on partnerships, according to the IBV study. In India, 55% of outperforming CEOs surveyed said partnerships have become more important for driving business performance while only about half as many under-performers said the same.

The study said that outperforming company CEOs are narrowing their focus to what they do best and relying on partners and ecosystems for access to broader ideas and innovation opportunities.

In addition, IBM notes that as many leaders increasingly see how their organizations can help address interconnected global issues like climate change, ecosystems may be able to play a pivotal role in driving lasting change.

IBM recommends that leaders consider carefully the longer-term challenge of a hybrid work environment, which can include things like providing employees with digital, cloud-enabled tools for collaboration, preventing employee burnout or sustaining company culture with focus on diversity and inclusion.

The IBV study further includes recommendations on how leaders can seize this moment to reset and focus on what may be essential for success: choosing flexible and scalable technology platforms like an open hybrid cloud, investing in the holistic well-being of their people, and partnering to win with an open innovation approach.

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