ServiceNow NZ country manager Kate Tulp.
Business leaders have a lot on their plates as global economic growth slows sharply as more countries slip into recession.
Inflationary pressures are proving to be broader and more persistent than expected, forcing central banks to raise
interest rates are more aggressive.
Trade disruption from the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply chain issues are not helping matters while increased regulation and compliance are adding more burdens to businesses.
But if there’s one thing that’s keeping CEOs up at night right now, it’s the dire labor shortages that grip nearly every industry in this country and abroad.
A recent Herald Mood of the Boardroom survey showed skills and labor shortages as the biggest concerns at home when CEOs were asked to rate issues affecting confidence.
“We’ve all been talking about the war for talent for years. The slow-moving crisis has now hit us full force and finding people to keep your business running has become an urgent and daily activity for many leaders,” said the manager of ServiceNow NZ country Kate Tulp when asked to comment on the 2022 CEO of the Year finalists for the Deloitte top 200 Awards.
Jolie Hodson of Spark, Ross Taylor of Fletcher Building and Rhys Jones of Vulcan Steel were named as finalists in the category.
Tulp says with everything that has happened in the past few years, the strategies and priorities for running a business successfully have changed.
“Leaders need to have a flexible vision for their organization. You need to be able to confidently flex the organization quickly and have technology, systems, and processes that allow you to adapt quickly.
“It requires more focus on the five-year plan, and the workforce you will need to execute that plan.
“Meanwhile, organizations that embrace more automation will be the winners – they’ll keep themselves moving while building a more competitive and scalable operation for years to come.”
Tulp cited the Department of Corrections as a good example. The organization has automated many administrative tasks and reduced the time spent to perform payroll tasks by more than 50 percent.
“The priority should be looking at ways to make employees as productive as possible, by reducing repetitive work and admin, and streamlining the many steps and processes that make work take longer than as needed.
“For example, NZTE transformed the experience of its employees by digitizing processes for hiring, moving teams, approving leave, onboarding contractors and when staff leave. It has automated several steps, enabled easier access to key information, and improved tracking and measurement. As a result, employee satisfaction increased by 53 percent.”
Workplaces are becoming more complex. So how do good CEOs deal with workforce changes, immigration issues and the increasing need for work/life balance?
Tulp says good communication is important.
“CEOs who really deliver for their businesses are able to communicate clearly to a wide range of people, on priorities, opportunities, and potential challenges. Effective CEOs need to communicate information about in operations and change in a way that makes sense to the whole team and that takes people on the journey with them.
“Good CEOs have demonstrated that they are able to brief everyone from the suppliers they want to engage with to the stakeholders they know they will need to work with to help solve complex issues.
“We are facing new problems that we have never solved before and Kiwi businesses need to work together to fix them.
“We are facing unprecedented supply chain challenges and issues around exports and cybersecurity – this has created a trend for organizations that don’t traditionally work together, to come together to discuss how solve problems best. These processes not only allow businesses to continue to thrive, but also support the communities that depend on these businesses.”
One question the Herald is exploring in a new series is how we can rebuild better in the wake of the Covid crisis.
It’s a question CEOs ponder as they try to insulate their organizations from future shocks.
Tulp says that radical organizational change is risky and prone to catastrophic failure if people and processes are not prepared to accommodate the volume and speed of change.
“Making sure you’re ‘fighting’ first is critical,” he adds.
“There are so many factors to consider when you embark on digital transformation, especially being aware of the market you’re operating in and what that future might look like. Business models are being disrupted faster than ever, new competition is emerging all the time, and the best businesses need to adapt and change to respond to new challenges.”
With this in mind, Tulp has three things CEOs should do to get the business ahead and grow:
1. Succession: Knowing the key roles and people in your organization, who will invalidate the business and struggle if they leave. Closely followed by what you plan to maintain or replace them, if necessary. CEOs need to be willing to go to pay levels and options they haven’t had to consider before if they want the organization to stay strong over the next three years.
2. Agility: With constant change, many CEOs realize it’s important to be flexible and empower teams to weather multiple storms at once. This includes implementing technology for flexible and secure off-site working, simplifying the systems and processes your customers need to navigate, and providing ways to connect teams and functions quickly.
3. Governance: CEOs need to prioritize good governance, especially in data, privacy, and cyber security. Today, trust equals honesty. Getting the basics right can be the most difficult task, especially when there are significant skills shortages in this area.
The Deloitte Top 200 Awards were established in 1990 and are held annually to recognize and applaud outstanding individual and management team performance in New Zealand’s largest companies and trade organisations.
Last year’s CEO award winner was David Mair of Skellerup.
Click here for the full list of finalists.
All Deloitte Top 200 winners will be announced at a gala event on December 8.
CEO of the Year finalists – Sponsored by ServiceNow
- Spark’s Jolie Hodson
- Ross Taylor of Fletcher Building
- Rhys Jones of Vulcan Steel