Employers Admit Their Talent Management Strategies Need an Overhaul

A lack of talent development, outdated processes, and discontent with the role of managers are the main drivers of workforce dissatisfaction, according to Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study.

Astonishingly, 85% of organizations report that their talent management programs and policies need an overhaul. Managing these changes requires support from leadership; however only 4% of HR professionals report that the HR function is viewed as a strategic business partner within their organizations.

Additionally, Mercer’s study finds 9 out of 10 organizations anticipate that the competition for talent will increase in 2016 and more than one-third expect this increase to be significant.

However, despite 70% of organizations reporting they are confident about filling critical roles with internal candidates, 28% of employees say they plan to leave in the next 12 months even though they are satisfied with their current role.

“Employers are experiencing ever-growing competition for labor. At the same time, unemployment remains high in many countries around the world. The issue goes well beyond lack of available talent,” says Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business.

“It’s a lack of the right talent where and when it is needed to drive competitive advantage and deliver business results. For talent that has analytic skills, inspirational leadership capability, and a global mindset, demand continues to exceed the supply.”

Kate Bravery, Partner and Global Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent business adds, “[Employees] are demanding a new value proposition that combines greater career support with flexibility to manage their work and more opportunities to develop their skills. HR professionals are challenged to meet employees’ demands and achieve a talent advantage, especially if they don’t have a seat at the table – and this is crucial if they are to remain a viable part in the talent ecosystem.”

Workforce trends and top priorities

In today’s global environment, successful talent strategies depend on an organization’s ability to engage, inspire, and retain employees of different genders, ages, races, and backgrounds.

According to Mercer’s study, leveraging an increasingly diverse labor pool is the third most important workforce trend impacting business, following the rising competition for talent from emerging economies and talent scarcity.

The importance that organizations have placed on developing a diverse workforce has not translated into actions that are visible to employees. While 73% of companies are working towards diverse leadership teams, only 54% of employees say their organization has effective programs in place to do so.

“Bridging the gap between employee and employer views will require substantial changes from HR,” says Bravery. “This includes improved operational capabilities around talent sourcing, enhanced tools and managerial capabilities to deliver a compelling career proposition, and proficiency in workforce analytics for a data-driven approach to managing talent flows.”

In tackling talent issues, employers need to make sure that their efforts to build the workplace of the future have a material impact on attraction and productivity.

Mercer’s study identified five priorities for organizations to address this year:

- Build diverse talent pools
- Embrace the new work equation
- Architect compelling careers
- Simplify talent processes
- Redefine the value of HR

Flexible Work Schedules Still Not the Norm Across Asia

While these priorities are consistent across organizations and regions, they are viewed differently by employees and employers.

For instance, employees in Asia are the least likely to report that flexible work schedules would improve their work situation (38% compared to 46% globally).

Notably, organizations in Asia recognize the importance of HR skills and are more likely to invest in upskilling; 44% in the region and 53% in China have plans in place to build this capability in 2016 (compared to 36% globally).

“Flexible work schedules are not the norm across the region,” says Susan Haberman, Senior Partner and Growth Markets Region Talent Business Leader for Mercer. “However, as it becomes more popular among younger workers, employers will have to adjust their talent plans to accommodate jobs around a range of work/life styles.”

Explains Bravery, “The workforce of today may be the most career orientated that we’ve seen – and this is forcing a new level of transparency between employers and employees. Successful companies will navigate these changes by not only challenging how work has been done in the past, but by actively considering how it could, and might, be done tomorrow.”

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