In brief

In brief

  • CEOs must invest in both people and technology to evolve their operations.
  • Future-ready organizations redesign how their people work and invest in the skills required to work differently.
  • Organizations need a future-ready, agile workforce, and 54% of CEOs report wide use or full-scale adoption of an agile workforce.

Bring more power to your people

Even before the pandemic, ways of working were changing. And now, there’s no going back.

While organizations are investing heavily in digital transformation (to the tune of US$1.2T globally) and relying on technologies to become future-ready, many overlook the culture and people-related changes that are foundational to this outcome.

Future-ready organizations are:

A graphic showing that future-ready organizations are 1.7 times more efficient and 2.8 times more profitable.

But to deliver on the promise of a future-ready organization, CEOs and their leaders must focus on the combination of technology AND human ingenuity as they evolve their operating models. By enhancing employee potential, collaboration and creativity—by essentially leaving their people Net Better Off—these organizations achieve better performance and talent retention.

Make the culture shift to a future-ready agile workforce

Our global, cross-industry research demonstrates the connection between business operations maturity and performance. Organizations were categorized into four levels of intelligent operations—stable, efficient, predictive and future-ready—based on their approach to data, technology, processes and talent.

Future-ready organizations have the highest level of operations maturity and also report higher levels of efficiency and profitability. Getting there, however, requires a dedicated focus on workforce transformation. While CHROs may own their function, they cannot shoulder this transformation responsibility alone: the entire C-suite will need to engage in the effort.

A culture that embraces agility, experimentation, and human ingenuity is one which enables the success of the organization and its workforce. In future-ready organizations:

  • Talent is characterized by an agile workforce and knowledge workers who focus on judgment-based work.
  • Machines create more meaningful work for people, instead of simply augmenting humans and processes.
  • Use responsible skilling, training people to connect them to the future of work—whether that next job is within the organization or outside of it.


of workers believe that AI will have a positive impact on their jobs.1


of HR leaders see that technology is the top challenge, followed by structure and strategy.

Close the gap between the CEO and CHRO

Standing in the way of future readiness is a disconnect: 54% of CEOs report wide use or full-scale adoption of an agile workforce, compared to 77% of HR leaders and 71% of all leaders.2 What’s more, CEOs and HR leaders are inhibited by factors such as a fight for talent, attrition, burnout, widening skill gaps and a lack of productivity, performance and purpose.

To advance digital and technology adoption in general, advancing your people in parallel is critical.

Achieving far-reaching operations transformation will require ownership by the executive team to prepare a future-ready workforce. Leaders across the C-suite must recognize that decisive action would support employee engagement and retention. And employees expect a better work experience, training and development as well as opportunities to advance their careers.

1 2020 Accenture research: The Professionalization of AI

2 COVID-19 CXO Pulse Survey, Wave 3, January 2021

Knowledge is power

01. Know the ultimate goal

Create an exceptional employee experience by giving people new skills and the courage to take more risks. Learn more.

02. Know the key steps

Enable people’s agility by fostering a data-driven culture and harness the power of AI and other technologies to create new opportunities. See how.

03. Know how to leapfrog maturity levels

Develop people’s digital readiness through continuous learning so they’re always ready to adapt to change. Learn more.

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Jill K. Goldstein

Talent and HR Business Process Services Lead


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Accenture surveyed companies worldwide to understand how they view their journey to operations maturity.

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