Improving Productivity of the Existing Workforce High on Corporate Resolutions for the New Year

Study: With Most Predicting 10% U.S. Unemployment, Improving Profits, Cutting Costs, Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Managing Change Also Cited as Top Five 2009 Corporate Challenges

SEATTLE, WA (Jan. 26, 2009) - In today's economic environment, it should come as no surprise that profits, costs and customers are at the forefront of corporate concerns for the new year, according to a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). On the heels of those challenges, the ability to manage the change involved and to improve the productivity of the existing workforce are two additional items that are top of mind.

And these same companies aren't at all optimistic that the upcoming year will provide relief. Just over 12% said the U.S. economy is likely to improve, and only 9% hold out hope for an improvement in the economy on a global scale in 2009. Over a third (35.5%) said it is "a virtual certainty" or "highly likely" that the U.S. unemployment rate will hit 10%. Only 1.6% of responding companies said that there is no chance this will happen.

The 2009 Forecast Pulse Survey, conducted in early January, uncovered the fact that 68% of companies think making profits will be their biggest major challenge in 2009, followed closely by customer satisfaction at 67%. Cutting costs is expected to be a challenge for two-thirds of study respondents. Interestingly, less than 8% said that promoting an ethical environment is a top concern for the coming year.

With extensive reductions in force and hiring freezes, companies agree on how their workforces will respond: We'll all get more productive. A full 84% of companies queried expect that their organization's productivity is likely to rise in the coming year.

"Out of market necessities, and in some instances using the economy as an excuse, most companies have significantly reduced their workforces over the last few months," said Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4cp. "This means that the pressure to improve workforce productivity has never been higher. Companies can learn a lot from each other right now, especially if they suspect they are spending time and money on 'reinventing' something another organization has already solved. By paying more attention to best practices, productivity tools and innovative programs, corporations can help the 'survivors' cope - and even thrive - in a time where everyone is expected to improve their output."

Other study findings include:
  • Most companies agree that regulation will be stepped up under a new White House administration, as 65% of respondents said they expect increased regulation to be very likely.
  • The challenge of keeping talent in the current economy is considered an issue from a high to very high degree by more than half (54%) of queried companies.
  • Leadership development issues are considered a high to very high challenge by 48% of companies polled.
  • Restructuring and layoffs are forecast to be a challenge to at least a small degree by 82% of organizations.
  • Relatively few (7%) believe there's a likely chance the U.S. healthcare system will be nationalized.
The 2009 Forecast Pulse Survey was conducted, in conjunction with, in January 2009. The total number of respondents was 426. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest vendor-free network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:
  • Peers to spark new ideas and prevent "reinventing the wheel,"
  • Research to enable members to understand current practices and next practices,
  • Tools to put ideas and research into action,
  • Technology to enable members to easily access tailored information and execute workforce strategies.
With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.