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Boyden Research Shows Threat of Recession and Employee Burnout Top Risks for Global Business

Global business leaders report 38 percent of leadership teams somewhat or not at all prepared for recession; 35 percent have little or no confidence in having the right talent for their strategy

Boyden, a premier global leadership and talent advisory firm, reports on its annual global executive talent research. Macro-economic challenges, innovation in AI, and rising concerns over talent are recalibrating leadership capabilities and forging a closer relationship between boards and the executive.

Boyden’s global study, Exploring Adaptivity through Strategy and Talent, discovers perspectives on risk among CEOs, boards and other senior leaders, alongside executive talent trends, priorities and investment.

Findings show the top external risk to business is threat of recession, cited by 38 percent of respondents, while the top internal risk is employee burnout, cited by 24 percent, tying with rising business costs.

For growth prospects, 77 percent of global leaders are very confident or confident in their organisation’s growth potential. However, 41 percent say their organisations need to strengthen skills in AI, robotics and machine learning to achieve growth, while 35 percent have little or no confidence in having the right talent to align with strategy.

Board-level respondents see ‘human capital’ as the top driver of organisational growth, tying with ‘innovation’; 44 percent say they need to strengthen their own skills in AI, robotics and machine learning. In preparing for recession, 33 percent of board respondents report increased engagement by the leadership team with the board.

“Our research shows a closer relationship between the executive and the board, reflected in our own executive search and leadership consulting engagements,” says Kathleen Dunton, Chair, Board of Directors, Boyden. “While overseeing strategy and representing shareholders, board respondents reveal a strong operational focus both for their own skill sets and the needs of the business, most notably human capital and digital skills.”

“The board-level focus on talent is an on-going reflection of the deeper engagement of the board in day-to-day business as leaders and organisations strive to adapt in real time,” comments Chad Hesters, President & CEO, Boyden. “Coupled with this, digital capabilities and strategy have become intertwined, accelerating the pace of change, and shining a light on the need for digital fluency at all levels of the organisation”.

The need for adaptivity is driving organisations to recalibrate their approach to leadership, away from traditional competitive styles to a more nuanced approach. Rikard Scoufias, Chair, Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA S.A.) explains, “What is making this period so exciting for CEOs is that leadership today is not just dependent on having huge financial resources, it’s really about mindset. By adopting more creative and competitive mindsets and articulating more attractive stakeholder value propositions the playing field is levelled out and organisations can steal business and market share. It’s completely different to competing on ‘traditional’ parameters.”