Horváth-study: Personnel issues are flooding the management agenda - Management Board meetings are increasingly characterised by personnel-related discussions

  • List of urgent fields of action is getting longer and longer
  • Personnel issues already account for more than 40 per cent of Board meetings
  • ​​​​​​​Huge gap between pressure to act and implementation

    No matter what sector, no matter what size of company, no matter what area - managers are sounding the alarm in unison: according to a recent Horváth study, so many areas of action and topics have piled up in the field of HR in recent years that companies are lagging miles behind in terms of solutions. Of the 14 HR-related areas of action surveyed, for which a meaningful order of priority was originally to be determined, all were rated as urgent by at least 85 per cent of respondents. "We were very surprised by this result ourselves, as we not only surveyed top executives from the HR department, but across all functions," says Heiko Fink, Partner and transformation expert at management consultancy Horváth. "We could probably have even extended the list of topics and the priority would not have dropped."

    HR topics increasingly fill board meetings
    Equally astonishing is the result that in the majority of companies, more than 40 per cent of board meetings are already filled with people-related topics. "People-related topics have reached the top of the C-level agenda," says Fink. But what are the specific issues that concern the management boards? The list is headed by complex, multi-layered fields of action. The improvement and communication of corporate culture and the optimisation of employer attractiveness were cited by around 90 percent of respondents as a high or very high priority. Nine out of ten managers also consider the challenge of better anchoring HR issues in the organisation to be urgent. "The strategic component 'people' - like sustainability or digitalisation - can only be solved across organisations," says Horváth expert Heiko Fink.

    Just one in three companies is working on solutions
    In view of these prospects, many companies appear to be in a state of shock. This is because, on average, just one in three companies in the surveyed fields of action have any projects underway to develop solutions. In not a single field of action does the implementation rate reach 40 per cent. Even the board members complain that their company invests too little in HR issues (77 per cent). "The study reveals that there is great uncertainty about how the megatopic of 'people' can be broken down, prioritised and systematically implemented," explains Horváth expert Heiko Fink.

    About the study
    ​​​​​​​In the third quarter of 2023, the management consultancy Horváth surveyed cross-industry decision-makers from companies, most of which have an annual turnover of at least 500 million euros. The people selected represent a cross-section of management levels from C-level to team management. The board level accounts for around 30 per cent, two thirds are at least part of divisional management. The survey group was compiled on a cross-industry basis and half of the respondents came from industrial and half from service companies. The panel comprises a total of 170 decision-makers from the DACH region and the USA who are able to provide information on HR issues in their company.