Despite the evidence showing that remote and hybrid work is good for productivity, bosses are still office-centric in their thinking – they remain “steadfast” in their desire to return to pre-pandemic working.
KPMG’s 2023 CEO outlook surveyed 1,325 CEOs in 11 markets and found that 64% of them anticipate a full return-to-office (5 days a week) within the next three years.
This is consistent with the 2022 outlook report – 65% said their ideal working environment would be in-office, followed by 28% saying hybrid and just 7% saying fully remote.
The 2023 survey also identified that 87% of CEOs would be likely to reward those employees who do make the effort to come into the office with not just better assignments, but also raises and promotions.
This attitude is presenteeism in action.
For instance, a complete return to the office has the potential to hinder businesses diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) progress – another area of concern for CEOs; 66% think that progress on DEIB has moved too slowly.
KMPG’s report recommends that CEOs really need to step up around DEIB if they want to see progress. They need to set the tone at the top by focusing on real targets, and making real investments.
KPMG International’s global head of people Nhlamu Dlomu shared: “The data underscores the immense pressure on CEOs to make quick decisions on the big issues.
“The war for talent may have softened in this period of economic uncertainty in some parts of the world, but the evidence suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to return-to-office could be detrimental.
“It’s crucial that leaders take a long-term view that enables them to bring embraces their employee value proposition to life, supports their people’s wellbeing and development, and enables them to deliver business results.”
CEOs and generative AI
Linked with DEIB, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are also top of mind for global CEOs in 2023.
69% of CEOs know that ESG is central to value creation for their organization, and have fully embedded it into their business models.
They know that return on investment (ROI) will take a few years, but quarter believe it will have a huge impact on their relationships with customers.
Importantly, KPMG’s report round that CEOs are not just investing in ESG, they are also laser focused on artificial intelligence, and particularly the newest iteration: generative AI.
They are making it an investment priority because they see the potential competitive advantage (70%) – 52% are expecting to see ROI in three to five years, and two in ten are hopeful it’ll increase their profits significantly.
Thankfully, CEOs are not just thinking about the rewards, they are also laser-focused on the risks, and want to invest in ethical AI (57%).
Ultimately, it is clear that CEOs are thinking long-term, and are not too worried about the global economy – 73% are confident about the global economy over the next three years (up from 71% in 2022).
HR tech and UNLEASH World
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