Even the “Most Admired” Companies are Chock-full of Workforce Challenges

By Staff Report

Sep. 26, 2004

Executives at the “most-admired” companies say they are not effectively using their workforces and as a result are losing revenue, according to a new study.

Convergys led the project; the research was conducted by the Saratoga Institute in conjuction with the University of Michigan. Interviewees were C-level and top human resources executives at U.S. and European companies listed as “Most Admired” by Fortune.

Half of all executives said they don’t have enough information about their workforces to remain competitive. Eighty-four percent said they were unable to take advantage of their workforce’s full potential.

Other findings:

  • Only 16 percent of respondents describe their companies as “flexible.”
  • Fifty-five percent of executives say that a major barrier to getting the most out of their talent is that work is based around jobs, not based on skills and competencies. Bonnie Tichman, a vice president of marketing at Convergys, says that at most companies, people have “a job, a role, a boss, a set of goals.” At consulting firms, which she sees as generally more nimble, consultants move from project to project based on clients’ needs.

Less than 20 percent of workforce management executives say their company is highly proficient at retaining and developing their most skilled employees.

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