The New C-Suite Imperative -- Australia: Partner with Peers Across the Business


2021 Survey Report for Australia

 

 

 

Why Collaboration Across the C-Suite is Critical


Based on our 2021 survey data and conversations we have had with CIOs, CISOs, CDOs, and CHROs, it’s become clear that cross-collaboration among C-suite executives is more critical than ever. Executives in Australia have indicated their top three objectives across the enterprise are:
 

  1. Driving growth
  2. Increasing operational efficiencies and productivity
  3. Employee satisfaction and engagement
     

Enterprise objectives for executives in Australia vary slightly from the rest of the world. Interestingly, they listed employee satisfaction and engagement in their top three objectives, a variation from their global counterparts.

  1. Increasing operational efficiencies and productivity
  2. Driving growth
  3. Improving the customer experience

 

Top Enterprise Priorities Snapshot

 

After more than a year of a global pandemic and business upheaval, executives need to work cross-functionally with their C-suite peers in order to achieve their goals. Executives are focused on finding ways to drive growth and keeping their teams and processes productive and efficient. They may be breaking down silos, reviewing redundancies across the business, or being asked to do more with less. 

C-level leaders in Australia are also articulating the importance of employee experience. As lockdowns continue and return-to-work plans are disrupted, they have had to adjust their policies and practices for employees. Their timeline for returning to offices and “normal” life has been jolted by continued uncertainty and could explain why employee experience is even more top of mind than in other regions.

Digital transformation accelerated during the course of the pandemic, along with pressures around business continuity, restructuring, and economic uncertainty -- producing increased stress and workloads for employees. In conversations within Evanta communities, employee health and wellness is a major focus area as a result of the past year.

One way executives can drive their own priorities forward is by looking across the C-suite for shared goals, objectives, and partnerships. Here are some observations from our survey data: 

  • CIOs and CISOs have an opportunity to align on “improving customer experience” because their departments often work together, and they are both drivers of digital initiatives in the organisation. They might not be aware that CHROs are also focused on customers, listing it in their top five enterprise objectives. HR leaders could be partners in exploring how to source the talent pool and ensure the professional development for digital and customer-facing initiatives. 
  • Both CIOs and CHROs are focused on finding operational efficiencies and productivity. How can they work together to find innovative and data-driven ways to streamline processes and sustain employee productivity?
  • CHROs are not the only ones identifying employee satisfaction and engagement as a top priority, and recent headlines about employee burnout and the unrelenting pace of change across all roles will require the attention of their peers in other departments. Employee satisfaction and engagement affect retention and recruiting, which will certainly impact technology, security, and data roles and departments.
  • CHROs may be the main leaders focused on return-to-work strategies, but continuing to support a partially remote workforce will depend on CIOs and CISOs, as well. In fact, Gartner research suggests that CIOs should be leading the organisation in rethinking how work gets done and addressing employee productivity while working remotely or in hybrid working models.

What about C-suite leaders that find themselves as the primary individual focused on a specific priority, such as the CISO with “reducing risk”? That objective clearly aligns to their functional role, but is also an enterprise-wide goal. CISOs need support from CIOs and CDOs to protect technology and data, and they also need to imbue security awareness and behaviors throughout the organisation in order to be successful. With remote and hybrid work models, security is everyone's responsibility, not just a departmental focus. Even a functional role’s main priority can benefit from cross-functional collaboration.

What are the barriers to working together? Gartner found in a recent Board of Directors survey that “organisational silos represent one of the most common and chronic barriers to digital business success.” In the same survey, Gartner found that “89 percent of boards agreed that ‘the crisis has increased the need for strong cross-functional collaboration.’” Disruption from the pandemic has created an opportunity and a need to work across the C-suite to succeed.

 

Conclusion


As C-suite leaders learned during the past year, disruption is just that: a break or interruption in the normal course of business. That interruption was detrimental to some organisations and created opportunities for others -- or in some cases, a bit of both. Some business leaders found in it a rare chance to implement rapid change, eliminate old processes, and do things differently.

As they continue to recognise and manage the shifts from last year, it’s clear that executives are also focusing on some of their pre-pandemic priorities. In their strategies and next steps, cross-collaboration with their C-suite colleagues can help drive their initiatives forward.

For nearly 20 years, Evanta has gathered insights from C-level executives who participate in our communities. We ask about their top priorities, the challenges they face and the goals they set to add value to the enterprise through our Leadership Perspective Survey. This proprietary data helps them to level set against what their peers are doing, understand what their shared challenges are, and collaborate on solutions.  

For Evanta, our community members’ invaluable input helps us to develop discussion topics and agendas for gatherings that meet the real-time needs of executives spanning the C-suite. The survey capturing their perspectives enables us to ensure that all Evanta community gatherings are driven by C-levels and for C-levels.

 

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