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By Matt Weston, Director at Robert Half UK

The new year holds the continued and rapid evolution of the workplace. Businesses will face the implementation of GDPR, the impact of a continued skills shortage and changes in remuneration expectations and office workspaces.

Based on research findings, our recent reports and insights from our recruitment consultants, we’ve pulled out key priorities for C-suite professionals in 2018:

Meeting compliance and regulatory demands

New regulatory demands will come into effect this year, prompting 48% of CFOs to consider it a top priority for the first time in three years. Over the course of one year, the second Payment Systems Directive, MiFID II and GDPR will all come into effect, demanding the immediate attention of businesses.

Protiviti and North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative surveyed directors and C-suite executives on the risks they foresee in 2018. Many of them expressed concern that company culture doesn’t do enough to encourage quick identification and escalation of issues which risk core operations. They also identified concerns regarding their ability to manage cyber threats and the swift protection of personal data.

Preparing for Brexit

In the face of on-going Brexit negotiations, 43% of CFOs will prioritise preparations for change. According to research by CIPD, the majority of businesses will focus their efforts on obtaining UK-based growth with only 9% opting to continue focusing on growth outside of the UK.

Increasing staff retention

According to HR directors, employee turnover has increased in the last three years. This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed—a large majority of UK businesses claim that they are concerned they’ll lose top performers to new job opportunities before the new year has ended.

This was top 10 risk for the companies surveyed by Protiviti and North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative—particularly those within healthcare, energy industries, and consumer products/services. The root of this concern is the ability to meet demanding growth strategies without the operational man-power needed.

Those that choose to make staff retention one of their business priorities for 2018 are less likely to be affected by the war for talent or the skills shortage, which is set to continue into the new year.

Maintaining cash flow 

Of those surveyed, 39% of CFOs said that they planned to focus on implementing strategies which maintained cash flow. However, the tightening of regulatory demands threatens this initiative—over half (66%) of businesses fear that this will affect their ability to produce products and services.

Leveraging big data to provide personal customer experiences is a recurring trend that stands to affect cash flow. The inability to utilise such advanced analytics could seriously cripple strategic plans for 2018, and merits the search for skilled data analysts and a push for the successful roll-out of more sophisticated automated and digital systems.

Anticipating the impact of automation

To meet 2018 objectives, C-suite executives will need to significantly increase productivity through automation. To prevent delays caused by the talent deficit, it’s thought that temporary and interim professionals with specific knowledge of software and programmes will join permanent employees to share knowledge and facilitate a smooth roll-out.

Automation brings with it the need to invest in employee training and up-skilling. Over half (59%) of businesses we surveyed believe that demand for niche skills outweighs supply—up-skilling current employees provides a faster solution to the issue.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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