Building a High-Performance Organization – Part Two

Results from ChainLink's 2011 Business Priorities Survey - Part Two


Survey respondents told us that better communications and education are some of the ways they expect to deal with their top personnel concerns. We also look at what they said about their 2011 budgets. The findings are encouraging, but with caveats.


This is the second in a three part series reporting on results from our 2011 survey of business priorities. We asked both executives and individual contributors about their critical challenges and concerns. In part one we looked at what executives and managers said are their top personnel concerns in 2011. In this article, we examine how they plan to address those concerns.

Addressing Personnel Challenges

Figure 1 shows what executives and managers told us about how they plan to meet personnel challenges this year.

Figure 1 – How Managers and Executives Expect to Meet Personnel Challenges in 2011

Communications, Goal Setting

Topping the list were the basics: the blocking and tackling of communicating better, setting goals, and providing frequent feedback. Along with this, some respondents said the most important thing for them was to lead by example.

Education and Training

In the middle of the list were education and training. ChainLink did a survey on the state of Supply Chain Education in 2011, which found a need for less theoretical, more practical education with an emphasis on the strategic elements. Education and training are not only good for building a smarter, more knowledgeable team, but also can play a role in improving employee motivation because they demonstrate concern for employees’ future. As many companies have cut training and education budgets in the current climate, there are ways to offer education on limited budgets. Some companies can get partial federal reimbursement under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Internal, even informal training can also be cost effective. In any case, education and training are good investments that are too often overlooked (more on this below).

2011 Department/Organization Budgets

We asked managers and executives how their 2011 budget compared with their 2010 budget.

Figure 2 – Expected 2011 Budget vs. 2010 Budget for Each Manager’s Group

The budget numbers are quite encouraging. While over a quarter of executives expect “almost no change” from their organizations’ 2010 budgets, almost 60% expect their budgets to grow, while only about 11% expect their budgets to shrink. Over 30% of respondents are expecting their budgets to grow by greater than 10%. These are healthy numbers, reinforcing the idea that the current recovery has legs.

However, they don’t tell the whole story. Well over half of those executives who expect their budget to grow more than 10% this year (the top three bars in Figure 2 above) are from the smallest companies (under $10M in revenue). Less than 10% of them come from companies with over $250M in revenue. As with many recoveries, the most rapid growth appears to be in the small business sector.

Industries that ranked particularly well for expected growth in our survey included Banking/Finance, Consulting, Consumer Goods, Industrial Products, Oil and Gas, Software, and Telecommunications.

In part three of this series, we will discuss what individual contributors told us are their highest concerns for 2011, and what is often overlooked by managers and executives.

We also conducted a webinar on the findings from this research.A playback of this webinar is available here.

To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.

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