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New research from NTT DATA reveals only 16% of organizations rank employee retention and engagement as a top priority, and the majority feel unprepared for continued business disruption. Amid the Great Resignation, many organizations are struggling to retain and attract top talent; however, customer satisfaction and financial performance remain the primary focus over employee engagement, even though employees have a direct impact on business outcomes.

The research also provides insights into innovation and digital technologies, again highlighting a disconnect between the importance of the workforce and organizational priorities. Nearly half of respondents believe employee skills are detrimental or have no impact on their innovation efforts, but organizational culture is noted as the top reason holding them back from investment in digital technologies. Although nearly half of respondents report a positive culture and management, only 5% claim employees factor into strategic and operational decision-making. And while most are investing in foundational technologies, one in six say their lack of employees with skills in data analysis holds them back.

Fig. 1: Underprepared for tomorrow's challenges. How prepared is your organization to deal with change related to the following factors over the next two years? Three point scale; "Highly prepared" responses only. 40% say pace of technology change. 35% for workforce and workplace disruptions. 34% for supply chain and operation disruptions. 32% for public policy. 31% for competitive threats and industry disruption. 27% for social movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter). 23% say disruptions from climate change, natural disasters, or health crises. 23% say geopolitcal factors (e.g., election outcomes, economic sanctions, or trade patterns).

A small group of respondents (6%) reported above-average performance in nearly all areas, from productivity and internal collaboration to financial performance and customer satisfaction. This group of leaders reported a focus on data-driven decision-making, employee and customer experience, and leveraging technology to drive innovation. Times of uncertainty present significant challenges, but also opportunities for differentiation and growth, especially for the decision-makers that understand the connection between financial performance and employee satisfaction and retention.

The research polled 1,000 business and IT executives across 16 industries to uncover how organizations are prioritizing digital investments and strategies.

Read the full report from NTT DATA.

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