Here’s a roll-up of pandemic-related executive sentiment and insights from thousands of functional leaders across the C-suite.
Fast word on tactics and concerns from thousands participating in our conference calls and polls.
More detailed role-specific reports may be available on the website, depending on your subscription.
While risk management and audit leaders see the COVID-19 surge and challenges related to remote work as top emerging threats, political divisions in the U.S. are making it difficult for executives there to focus on their jobs. They are discussing politics at work and getting into arguments more often than last year — at higher rates than employees at lower echelons.
Half of those at the executive level say the election is having a big impact on their ability to get work done — compared with only 16% of managers and individual contributors, according to our September survey of 500 U.S. employees, 54 of whom described themselves as executives (see Figure 1).
Just 24% of executive respondents to the sentiment poll told us in December 2019 that they often spent time discussing politics at work. This rose to 44% in September of this year — compared with just 17% of the managers and individual contributors (see Figure 2).
And those conversations at the upper rungs of the corporate ladder are increasingly laced with discord; 57% of executives in the September survey reported that they have had an election-related argument with coworkers, compared to 31% at the individual contributor and manager level.
Employee expectations for civic engagement have also increased. Back in February, 44% of U.S. employees said that it was important their organization provide them with additional paid time off to vote. This jumped to 65% in September, when employees also reported on ways their employers were encouraging voter participation, including:
Information on voting locations and times (43%)
Flexible work options on election day (41%)
Emails reminding employees to vote (40%)
Voter registration information (39%)
A voter registration drive (37%)
Reporting on these voter participation initiatives increased in every category since February (see Figure 3).
Globally, those responsible for spotting new risks are also concerned about how the outcome of the U.S. race will affect business conditions.
In aSeptember webinar poll of 737 assurance executives assessing risks related to the U.S. elections, 57% were concerned about market stability and 49% worried about the geopolitical implications, such as the role of U.S. leadership in the world and tensions with China.
Other issues on their list include (see Figure 4):
Assurance executives have considered a range of scenarios, including the possibility of a contested election (see Figure 5).
In a survey of 119 assurance and finance leaders during August and September, the number one concern was the impact of a second wave of COVID-19, which has arrived. The 2020 presidential election was ranked fourth.
Compiled by Daniel Ryntjes
Contact with any questions or comments.
Recommended by the Authors
Executives continue to invest in data and analytics despite their ongoing discomfort with the results and the practical difficulties of embedding the findings into their decision making.
After navigating through the unexpected storm of COVID-19 change using standard remote support, IT leaders are pressing ahead with more advanced technology — such as the Internet of Things, digital twins and artificial intelligence.
Corporate leaders throughout the organization are starting to gather the lessons of the 2020 crisis to be better positioned to withstand future shocks and pursue new growth. Some have already found ways to roll these take-aways into their operations, risk management and business model changes.
While strategists tell us they are weighing the potential for upheaval along different fronts to affect their company’s future, most executives say their organization lacks a formal process to track and respond to disruptions. That will change. And in finance, sales, R&D and HR, functional leaders are already adjusting the way they plan.
The impacts of COVID-19 need a cross-functional response. Access all of our research to help your partners in assurance, supply chain, HR, IT and others act quickly and confidently. You’ll find tips, toolkits and other planning advice.
Download this new journal for C-suite leaders and their teams; articles in this edition explain how to rebuild better in the face of the global crisis.
Cost optimization can be risky. The wrong moves can result in cuts that impede an organization’s ability to maintain liquidity, retain key talent, keep innovating and prepare for recovery. We’ve provided the research and tools to help leaders make data-driven decisions supported by proven approaches.