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COVID-19 is making corporate culture and well-being more important to CEOs

CEOs put focus on the soft side HR strategy

If there is one aspect in which the COVID-19 crisis has had an impact, it is the entire Human Resources spectrum – from adapting offices and other workspaces to social distancing to continuing to involve employees who in many cases are working from home in droves. 

The results of the 24th CEO Survey show how important CEOs consider the softer aspects of their organisation’s HR policy to be. When asked what they would like to change in their HR policies in order to improve their competitive position, improving digital skills and increasing productivity through the use of technology and automation traditionally score high. However, this year respondents consider a focus on corporate culture and behaviour even more important than these two aspects.

Crisis makes new demands on the CEO's role

“It has gradually dawned on us that it is not only physical safety but also mental well-being that is the most important issue when working from home. Whereas previously there were concerns about what automation would do to the labour force, the emphasis is now on the wear and tear effect of working from home”, says Debby Jannink, Partner in PwC's People & Organisation practice. She believes that this places new demands on the role of the CEO. “Leaders are expected to do two things: be empathetic in the here and now, and allow themselves to be vulnerable in order to ‘hold everything together’. At the same time, they have to show that there are prospects for the longer term.” 

Debby Jannink says that CEOs cannot leave this to their management team or the HR department. “Keeping employees involved requires leadership from the top.”

Read more in Debby Jannink’s blog

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Debby Jannink

Debby Jannink

Partner Change & Leadership, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 394 98 21

Bastiaan Starink

Bastiaan Starink

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 375 58 28