How CEOs can collaborate with Workforce for Business Reinvention

By | February 18, 2024
CEOs need to collaborate with employees in reinventing their businesses continuously.

This report based on the new PwC’s CEO survey shows how CEOs can collaborate, engage, enable, and motivate their workforce to adapt to constant change and reinvent their businesses.

We’ve all heard how the only constant thing is change. But for CEOs and business leaders today, change is happening faster and more extensively than ever before.

As PwC’s new CEO survey found:

“45% of CEOs doubt their company’s 10 year viability on their current path. And nearly all have taken steps to reinvent business models already”,according to PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey.

So. to lead through this era of what PwC calls continuous reinvention, CEOs will need to bring their workforce along rather than dictate changes from the top-down.

Why Employee Leadership Matters for Reinvention

Although most CEOs don’t see a lack of support from boards or middle management as big barriers to change, they do identify people-related obstacles.

These include bureaucratic processes, workforce skills gaps, and competing priorities.

To smash through these barriers takes engaging employees directly to build understanding and empowering them to take ownership of solutions. 

It also involves enabling workers to adapt, such as through skills development opportunities.

Remember, constant reinvention likely stirs worries about job security. Equipping people to transition will ease concerns.

Some CEOs in the survey have already accepted lower profit margins to fund investments in workforce.

When people feel involved, motivated, and supported, they’ll drive innovations rather than resist the needed changes.

Roughly 40% of CEOs feel their workforces lack the skills to sufficiently change business models.

And few have plans to implement workforce upskilling initiatives related to climate adaptation.

But the writing on the wall is clear that new capabilities will be demanded of workforces as business reinvention accelerates.

So, companies must either develop or acquire those skills.

The key is creating a culture of continuous learning to turn workforce evolution into a competitive advantage.

Companies should offer rich training programs, leadership development, and growth opportunities.

Job rotations also expose employees to new perspectives and ideas.

Ultimately, people want to feel valued by their employer. Investing to uplift their skills makes them feel supported through rocky transitions.

It also builds loyalty among talented workers with in-demand abilities. Fostering a purpose-driven culture focused on developing human capital pays dividends.

Top Tips for Leading Through Continuous Reinvention

Here are useful ideas you can apply as CEO to get your workforce on your side for continuous reinvention:

  1. Communicate the Urgency and Vision

Explain why change is imperative for survival and what future you envision for the reinvented company.

Inspire people about possibilities rather than scare them about threats.

But be transparent that continuous reinvention will be difficult and disruptive at times.

Outline how it will ultimately strengthen the business.

Describe the type of company you want to build together. Then maintain open and empathetic dialogue to guide teams through uncertainties.

Adopt two-way communication channels that empower employees to pose concerns and solutions.

When business models shift, individual roles will too. Provide ample opportunities for people to prepare for and influence what their reinvented responsibilities entail.

The more input they have, the more bought-in they’ll be.

Tie business reinvention to a purpose that motivates people at a human level.

Help them recognize how supporting the company’s adaptation journey helps them gain future-proof skills too.

Purpose and vision can sustain teams through painful periods of change.

2. Expand/Reconfigure the Leadership Team 

Bring in unconventional talent, like climate specialists or AI ethics experts, to provide fresh strategic perspectives and take ownership of emerging high-priority areas.

Recognize that answers don’t yet exist for many reinvention questions, so problem-solving abilities are critical.

Reduce emphasis on traditional functional leadership silos. Require the entire C-Suite own collective responsibility for navigating uncertainty and complex change.

Foster their collaboration through flatter, multi-disciplinary decision-making processes.

Validate that existing leaders demonstrate the openness to learn themselves that they expect from employees.

Those unable or unwilling to lead continuously evolving teams and priorities may need reassignment or replacement.

Consider business advisors, partnerships with academic institutions, or companywide future councils to introduce more diverse views into strategy development too.

The perspectives that served you well historically likely won’t suffice moving forward. 

3. Coach Managers to Facilitate Adaptation  

Help managers understand the anxieties employees face amid constant change. Guide them to acknowledge people’s concerns, discuss uncertainties transparently, and allow teams to adjust approaches over time. 

Train managers to prize curiosity, experimentation and agile learning rather than punish failure during transitions.

Grant employees latitude to pivot strategies while maintaining high standards and accountability.

Coach managers to frame business reinvention through the lens of how it expands opportunities for their teams.

Support them in identifying gaps between individual worker strengths and new capabilities demanded in future plans.

Provide tools for managers to foster talent mobility across business units and functions.

Job rotations prevent siloed thinking and help managers assess workforce skills holistically rather than protecting their own domain.

4. Create Problem-Solving Mechanisms with Workers

Rather than hand down solutions, build collaborative systems for people across levels to come together, identify issues early, and workshop ideas.

Reconfiguring processes through collective reimagination inspires greater change adoption.

Train facilitators to lead small groups of employees through design thinking exercises that unpack problems and brainstorm possibilities.

Every few months, synthesize insights across the organization to spot common themes and refresh strategies.

Create digital portals for people to safely share their concerns and suggestions without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Curate user-generated insights to clarify pain points and bright spots that may impact plans. Offer submitters transparency on how their feedback helps.

Incentivize managers to regularly gather small cross-functional employee teams to experience updated processes and prototypes firsthand.

Reward them for reporting user perceptions that expose flaws and inspire the next, improved iteration.

5. Develop New Ways to Motivate and Reward Innovation

Rethink what behaviors, contributions, and outcomes you recognize and celebrate across the company to spark creative thinking and bold experimentation.

Inspire everyone to see themselves as owners of reinvention.

Consider rewards like additional vacation days, flexible work options, or learning stipends for top innovators.

Enable customization so people can select from “menus” of motivators that excite them rather than defaulting to financial perks.

Gamify innovation by creating online leaderboards where peers can nominate colleagues for inventive thinking.

Set friendly competition among departments and business units to catalyze further ideas.

Profile internal innovators as role models. Showcase how their improvements drove evolution in the company’s offerings and processes.

When people feel heard and valued, they’ll persist through uncertainty.


Leadership effectiveness and keeping a people’s focus will prove critical capacity for CEOs to sustain continuous reinvention in years ahead.

Ultimately, invite your employees to collaboratively shape what your future business models look like.

Author: Team

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