Even more worrying, just 20% of respondents said the vast majority of their staff understood their companies' strategy and what was needed to be successful in their industry. Even in functions they deemed critical - sales, customer service, finance and strategic planning - executives didn't seem convinced about high levels of performance.
Such shortcomings, the research suggests, is partly linked to a series of poor HR practices. Only 36% of executives said they tailored their HR and training to each function's needs. About half of them also said they didn't evaluate the impact of their HR or training against profitability, revenues and sales.
These findings are surprising, particularly in the light of a looming talent shortage, with the retirement of the baby boomers. "The lack of essential skills is a vital issue for senior managers," says Peter Cheese, global managing partner in Accenture's human performance practice.
"A company's ability to manage its workforce strategically and develop its capabilities will set it apart from its competitors," he continues. Those companies that achieve high performance in their three most critical functions, are the ones likely to become industry leaders.
The keys to success, according to the report, are: measures that gauge the impact of all HR-related activities in their key functions; tailoring HR issues to each department's needs; and considering HR as a strategic element of the company. Now those 86% know what to do.
Source: High performance workforce study
Review by Emilie Filou