Gartner Business Quarterly

Proven guidance for C-suite action

2023 Q1

Help Your Talent Keep Transformation On Track

Achieve digital ambitions to thrive through upheaval

Executive leaders’ appetite for overhauling business and operational models continues unabated despite global shocks. However, there’s just one problem and it’s a big one: the willingness of employees to support transformations has dropped significantly – by nearly half. So, how do you keep the motor running in 2023?

Download this edition of GBQ to discover:

  • Insights to help you keep your digital initiatives on track
  • 5 Principles to help fusion teams power your digital business
  • A Roadmap for digital employee experience in the evolving workplace 

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    In this issue

    Help Your Talent Keep Transformation On Track

    Letter From The Editor

    Executive leaders’ appetite for overhauling business and operational models continues unabated through inflation, recession, pandemic and war — in fact, global shocks reinforce the critical role of achieving digital ambitions for surviving and thriving through upheaval. There’s just one problem and it’s a big one: while the number of enterprise changes in a year has quintupled between 2016 and 2022, the willingness of employees to support these shifts has dropped precipitously, cut nearly in half.

    If organizations want to forge ahead in 2023, they must address this crisis right away. “The irony,” write Cian Ó Móráin and Peter Aykens in our lead article, “is that many of the goals of transformation — redesigning teams and structure, automation of drudge activities, reengineering corporate culture — are hugely important to bridging the gap.”

    So how do you get there from here? To keep ambitious initiatives on track until the long-haul shifts start paying off, you’ll need, of course, to hold onto people with crucial digital skills. Now that these employees are seeded throughout the business, help them fit in with team cultures outside of IT. Within IT, matching workers with projects that will stretch their competencies serves as a tool of engagement and a way to upgrade the department’s versatility.

    And you should rethink old assumptions (from way back in 2019). Are you familiar with the cliché that “you can never communicate too much”? We’ll explain why it’s wrong and what to do about it. We’ll show you how to plan faster for strategic pivots by making the process more convenient and relevant for decision makers. We’ll even give you a tour of the metaverse-office frontier.

    You’ll learn from the real-world experience of a global group of organizations including ADT, Chevron, FedEx, NTT Data, SAGE Publishing, Sky Cable, Tetra Pak and Watercare.

    GBQ helps you align with others and reach peak effectiveness, so your enterprise can achieve its goals, be bold and principled, and bring employees, investors, and the public along for the ride.

    Our standing departments keep you up to speed — Cutting Edge is a look at provocative new data; Briefs offer short takes about smarter spending and planning, talent and culture, growth and innovation, and data and technology. 

    We welcome your feedback. Please contact me at

    — Judy Pasternak

    The Transformation Deficit 
    The average employee experienced 10 planned enterprise changes in 2022, up from two in 2016. And there is no reason to expect the pace to slow. But the workforce has hit the wall; the share of employees willing to support enterprise change collapsed to just 38% in 2022, compared with 74% in 2016. To keep the motor running in 2023, leaders must fine-tune how they approach change management. There’s a right way to make short-term fixes while continuing automation and culture work that won’t bear fruit till later. 

    Help Digital Talent Fit Into Finance
    When finance leaders hire people with the experience, skills and competencies to build and operate a digital environment, these critical workers tend to feel alienated from accountants, risk managers and regulatory experts who may not share their background and values. We’ll show you how to make digital specialists feel like part of the team.

    Tetra Pak’s Versatile Tech Infrastructure Workforce Sparks Innovation
    Within three years, this global food packaging and processing company headquartered in Switzerland cut attrition rates for its I&O team to 3%, reduced repair times by a fifth and increased customer satisfaction by 20%. Rejigging the functional structure created agile teams devoted to innovation and carved out time for employees to try new things.

    5 Principles to Help Fusion Teams Power Your Digital Business
    Building multiple, crosscutting fusion teams that blend technology and business domain expertise, with shared accountability for outcomes, is vital for digital transformations. But it’s easy — and costly — for C-suite executives to get things wrong. Fortunately, leaders can avoid common pitfalls by adopting a smart governance playbook.

    The Payoff From Improving Workplace Technology UX
    Fifty-one percent of employees recently rated their user experience as high-quality, compared to just 31% two years earlier — but there is still lots of room for improvement. C-level and IT leaders should understand that a great UX can pay quantifiable dividends, they may be neglecting important design priorities, accessibility features are even more valuable than they think, and employee UX varies by industry, work location and function.

    The Whiteboard: Big Questions About Digital Employee Experience in the Evolving Workplace
    Let’s head to the whiteboard and sketch out how to predict and deliver on the right combination of competencies, tools and insights for your enterprise. The roadmap to 2028 requires vision, strategy, and a plan — starting now.

    A Journey to the Metaverse-Office Frontier
    Metaverses may never be mainstream, but CIOs and senior executives looking for a creative way to recruit and engage employees in a hypercompetitive labor market should get up to speed on early tactical use cases for a virtual office, or what we call an intraverse. Experimentation can also serve as a relatively low-cost starting point for assessing the value of brave new online worlds for other purposes. Here’s a guided tour.

    For Fast Pivots, Leaders Need a Relevant, Practical and Convenient Planning Process
    Only 29% of strategy leaders and 38% of business leaders say their organizations can change plans fast enough to respond to market shifts. Making the process more frequent, more rigorous, or more standardized doesn’t address the reason adaptation is slow: stakeholders aren’t active and engaged enough in planning. Luckily, three companies show how it’s possible to alter that dynamic.

    Information Overload Is a Strategic Risk – And You Can Reduce It
    Conservatively, one employee wastes nearly half a day each week dealing with communications that duplicate others, take up unnecessary time or are irrelevant. Executive leaders should regard this as unacceptable. Streamlining content is not enough; it’s far better to design and govern a low-burden information ecosystem.

    Stop Trying to Drive Your Sellers; Start Figuring Out What Drags Them Down
    A company can’t grow without enthusiastic sellers, but 89% of B2B salespeople say they are burned out and 54% are looking for a new job. The situation is dire and demands more than the traditional motivational tools of compensation, recognition and reward. Sales leaders who take the time to diagnose and treat sources of demotivation (or “drag”) can increase productivity and engagement right away. 

    Boost Misconduct Reporting By Addressing Employees’ Personal Concerns
    Only 54% of employees believe reporting observed misconduct is the right thing to do. Compliance leaders need to abandon the conventional “who we are” storyline to encourage speaking up and directly address employees’ anxieties about doing so. In other words: Less “we,” more “me.”

    About Gartner Business Quarterly

    Gartner Business Quarterly provides business executives with insights from best practices research and the real-world experience of practitioners. The journal’s insights especially equip executives to tackle challenges that cut across the C-suite and affect multiple executive teams. Writers, contributors and data analysts are members of Gartner Research & Advisory (R&A) whose teams are led by Senior VP Val Sribar. The Gartner Business Quarterly publication is led by Editor-in-Chief Judy Pasternak with executive sponsorship by Group VP Scott Christofferson.