Three recurring themes are impacting the UK’s biggest organisations

The Chief People Officers (CPOs) of some of the UKs biggest businesses have shared with LACE Partners their most pressing people concerns for the next 12 – 24 months; the ‘One Big Thing’ that keeps them up at night.

Of all the potential issues facing HR teams today, qualitative research from LACE Partners shows that there are three recurring themes – talent attraction, flexible/hybrid working and getting their employee value proposition (EVP) right.

The CPOs surveyed are responsible for over 505,000 staff across the UK and Europe. Industries include Fintech, Banking and Insurance, Resources, Pharmaceutical, Technology, Public Service/Government, Retail, Healthcare, Travel and Hospitality.

Thirty-six percent of CPOs said that talent attraction is their biggest issue, 30% said flexible and hybrid working is their main issue and 13% of CPOs said EVP is their biggest challenge. The remaining 21% of CPOs said their biggest concern is one of another 10 issues facing organisations.

Cathy Acratopulo, Co-Managing Director of LACE Partners, explained: “There are no big surprises with the top three issues that have emerged from our research, especially in a period of full employment. What is particularly interesting is how they are intrinsically linked: shaping a compelling employee value proposition, for instance, including setting out what is on offer to enable people to work flexibly, will be a key differentiator for hiring and retaining talent”.

One CPO said to LACE Partners: “…getting the right balance between building a digital first (Remote/Hybrid working) organisation that balances the needs of the business and employees is my number one priority.  Senior leaders need to understand the business case and have a reality check for this new way of working now more than ever. If you hear employees talk about what they want, need and require from their working lives around schedule and location flexibility, it’s a huge disconnect from what leaders want. This plays heavily into the talent retention and attraction market”.

Another CPO explained: “I think that the world has changed and is changing. New joiners tell me they want to have much more choice, more flexibility. Colleagues want more transparency, managers want more options in their pocket to motivate and engage their folks, colleagues want to have more choice about how they are compensated, for now and for the longer term, they also want to understand how they are to be developed and invested in. As a CPO I want to be certain that our “offer” really drives and enables our strategy and underpins our values”.

Chris Horton, Director at LACE Partners, added: “The pandemic and the economic situation across the globe has forced a radical rethink on the employee/employer dynamic and nature of work itself. The amount of change at work, in the economy and society, is making the roles of Chief People Officers and HR teams even more complex. There are significant economic and social demands that businesses are facing over the next 12 to 24 months”.

The other issues CPOs expressed as a problem for their business included: creating an agile organisation, building digital skills and capability, a greater focus on diversity and inclusion (in particular broadening access to minority ethnic populations), developing resilience amongst leaders and employees, improving financial and mental wellbeing, focusing on employee experience and employee engagement, merger and acquisition integration and adoption of new HR technology.


About LACE Partners

LACE Partners is a global HR consultancy that supports major employers with HR transformation, technology advisory, change and adoption. It combines the on-demand expertise of top HR change specialists, with the market leaders in progressive HR technologies, providing a flexible, bespoke service to help HR and Exec teams of large organisations to solve strategic and technology challenges. Its operating model drives innovation, quality and collaboration. UK headquartered, LACE undertakes global projects for organisations of all industry sectors and sizes.

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Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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