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Top Executives Expect to Spend More to Meet Rising Customer and Employee Demands

In the midst of the pandemic and ongoing labor shortage, C-Suite executives say customers and employees will become more demanding in the coming months, and spending will increase around technology, hiring new workers, and supporting current employees, according to a new study from Qualtrics.

Despite predictions that the pandemic will continue to affect businesses into 2022 and beyond, CEOs and other leaders are optimistic about the future. Seventy-six percent expect their revenue to increase over the next year, and 85% predict moderate to very strong growth.

These predictions come at a time when companies are experiencing transformations across multiple areas. Not only are business leaders looking for creative ways to retain and attract employees during The Great Resignation, but they are also transforming their physical offices to adapt to hybrid work and improving products and technology as customers raise their expectations for virtual services.

In order to adapt to this ever-changing world, the majority of executives expect to see increases in spending around updating technology, training and re-training current employees, hiring new talent, supporting remote work, and providing mental health services. With big changes on the horizon, company leaders will need to continue to adapt, not only to the latest COVID-19 guidance but to current trends in the world of work.

Qualtrics asked over 500 CEOs and other C-Suite executives about their predictions for the future and how their businesses are faring during the pandemic. Here’s what they had to say:

Executives predict continued growth over the next year

Most CEOs and other executives report that their organizations actually grew in the past year, and they expect continued growth in the future.

  • 58% say their revenue increased over the past year (26% say it stayed the same)
  • 76% expect their revenue to increase over the next year (21% say it will stay the same)
  • Overall, 31% say they expect very strong growth over the next year, while 28% expect strong growth, and 26% expect moderate growth

Employees and customers will become more demanding

Despite robust projections for growth, CEOs and other executives believe that customers and employees will become more demanding in the future. Many also believe that COVID has fundamentally changed how they do business.

  • 56% say employees will become more demanding in the next few months
  • 67% say customers will become more demanding in the next few months

  • 42% say the pandemic fundamentally changed how they will do business going forward
    • 19% say their business will continue to be impacted by the pandemic in 2022
    • 39% believe the effects of the pandemic will largely be over by the end of 2021

Organizations are experiencing transformations across all aspects of business

Most organizations are either experiencing a transformation or preparing to experience one across several areas of work, including talent, real estate, and technology. Some of these transformations are no doubt tied to changes brought about by COVID.

  • 51% of CEOs and C-Suite leaders say their companies are currently experiencing a digital transformation (30% say they are preparing to experience one)
  • 47% are currently experiencing workforce/talent transformation (30% are preparing to experience one).
  • 46% are currently experiencing a financial transformation (31% are preparing to experience one )
  • 40% are currently experiencing a workplace/real estate transformation (29% are preparing to experience one)
  • 33% are currently experiencing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) transformation (32% are preparing to experience one)

Company spending is expected to increase in the next year, especially around technology

Spending is especially likely to increase around technology, with 51% of organizations reporting they are currently experiencing a digital transformation. However, a significant number also say they will be increasing spending around areas to support workers.

  • 72% of C-Suite executives say spending will increase around technology modernization, while 67% foresee an increase in cybersecurity

  • 64% say there will be an increase in spending for training/reskilling their workforce and 62% say the same for staffing/retaining a workforce. To support those workers, 60% expect an increase in spending for remote work support and 57% for mental health support.
  • 57% predict an increase in travel spending

New technology and innovation will be key to a company’s success

  • 53% of CEOs and other company leaders see new technology as an area with the most impact on their success. 41% answered innovation/new products.
  • 39% see operational efficiencies as key to their success
  • 39% of CEOs say that the increased cost of supplies poses the greatest threat to their success over the next year. 32% see new technology as a threat, and 30% see changing consumer demands as a threat

Cybersecurity tops the agenda for leaders

Cybersecurity, tax policy, social issues, and diversity will be top of mind for business leaders over the next year.

  • 63% say cybersecurity is very important to their agenda, and 37% say it is a 2021 priority
  • Similarly, 56% say social issues, such as public health, are very important on the agenda, and 35% say they are a priority
  • 55% say tax policy is a very important agenda item, and 36% see it as a 2021 priority
  • Finally, 46% say diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a very important agenda item, with 31% saying it’s a priority

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees.

With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle.

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