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Home > News > May 2007 > 04 May 2007

Ken Blanchard Companies publishes 2007 Corporate Issues survey

Research released this week by The Ken Blanchard Companies suggests increased competition and the challenges of attracting and retaining a skilled workforce are key issues facing organisations in 2007.

According to the survey of 1,091 HR, training and line managers from a range of industries and countries, few expect the situation to improve before 2010.

Blanchard's fifth annual Corporate Issues survey looked at three areas: organisational challenges, management challenges and employee development challenges. Respondents were also asked to anticipate what their top issues might be three years ahead.

The number one organisational concern was increased competition (65% overall). Alongside the issue of competing for talent in a shrinking labour market, respondents noted increased competition brings additional problems of differentiating products and services and creating a compelling customer service experience to avoid a 'commodity' mind-set focused purely on price. Very few respondents (3%) felt the situation would improve before 2010.

When it came to management challenges, developing potential leaders was the number one concern (64%) for the fifth year running. Overall, selecting and retaining key talent and creating an engaged workforce took second and third place (62% and 43%), again for five consecutive years.

However, differences of opinion emerged between HR and management on this issue; HR believed selecting and retaining key talent was their second greatest management challenge, while management rated this fourth. HR also placed far greater importance on succession planning. All respondents believe the 'talent war' will be an even greater issue in three years time.

Developing managerial and supervisory skills were again the key employee development concerns, with 64% of respondents citing these issues, followed by customer relationship skills (52%). Developing interpersonal skills came third, with anecdotal comments recording conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and basic communication skills key areas of concern.

However, responses from management and HR differed in these areas; 61% of management rated customer service as the most critical employee development need, while HR rated it fourth, at 44%. HR also sees developing manager/supervisor skills and executive development as a much higher priority (83% and 47% respectively) than do executives themselves (59% and 36%). Management also rated IT and sales skills higher than HR personnel. The highest percentile increase in people development challenges expected in 2010 were rated for manager/supervisor and IT skills.

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