Talent is the key to success in today’s global economy, but as organisations increase their investment in human capital many of them question whether it is paying off.
According to Mercer’s new Talent Barometer Survey, 60% of organisations worldwide report increasing their investment in talent in recent years. However, a much smaller percentage of respondents, 24%, say their plans are highly effective in meeting immediate and long-term human capital needs.
Additionally, 77% of those surveyed by Mercer have a strategic workforce plan in place. But when asked whether it is part of their longer-term strategy, only 12% said they had plans that extended for five years or more.
“Effective workforce planning is an essential part of positioning talent as a strategic asset and maintaining a competitive business advantage,” said Julio A. Portalatin, President and CEO of Mercer. “With the information and data analytics available today, employers can measure and manage their talent like never before. The question is whether the increased attention and efforts deliver the intended results. Outperformance requires a blend of innovative solutions and a fact-based approach to managing talent.“
Significantly, more than half (57%) of the organisations surveyed are not confident that educational institutions will generate the talent needed by their businesses today. The sentiment among respondents does not improve even when they are looking out as far as five years from today.
“This lack of qualified talent is a real concern for employers and one that requires a multi-stakeholder approach to solving. We have found companies that are most optimistic about the future are actively involved in shaping it,” said Pat Milligan, Region President at Mercer and member of The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Education and Skills. As a result of this educational gap, the survey shows organizations are employing internships, apprenticeships, and teaching high-demand skills in secondary and tertiary institutions.
As for health and wellness, Mercer’s survey finds that less than half of organisations worldwide actively apply the basic elements of a health management program, such as ensuring a healthy workplace and establishing health-related policies and procedures (as reported by 48% and 44% of organizations, respectively).
Less than one-third (31%) actively use a formal, written multi-year strategic plan for health and wellness. “The research suggests a strong link between employers’ focus on health and wellness and employee engagement and productivity. This means that employers are missing out on one of the greatest tools available to enhance their strategic workforce plans,” said Dave Rahill, President, Mercer Health & Benefits.
The Talent Barometer research also confirms that encouraging diverse career experiences and opportunities for growth which allow talent to excel is an essential part of workforce planning.
According to Mercer’s survey, organisations globally take the issue of career experience seriously, with the majority (80%) conducting regular (annual or semiannual) talent reviews. However, far fewer actively employ other actions that enhance talent availability and quality, such as assessing supply and demand of critical talent, putting a strategic succession plan in place and developing programs for high-potential employees.