Employers’ and workers’ views on an engaging workplace differ widely 0

Undervalued-and-disengaged-staff-plan-to-move-jobs-this-yearBusiness growth is radically redefining how employees are managed, especially as there is greater competition than ever to hire the best people from a much more demanding employee population. Yet employees report that a lack of development, outdated processes, and discontent with the role of their managers are causing them to feel dissatisfied according to Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study, the first to take into account the perspective of both employers and employees. While 85 percent of organisations admit that their talent management programmes need an overhaul, 70 percent are confident about filling critical roles with internal candidates, 28 percent of employees say they plan to leave in the next 12 months even though they are satisfied with their current role. Managing these challenges requires support but only 4 percent of HR professionals feel that the HR function is viewed as a strategic business partner within their organisations.

“Employers are experiencing ever-growing competition for labour. At the same time, unemployment remains high in many countries around the world. The issue goes well beyond lack of available talent,” said 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 mind set, demand continues to exceed the supply.”

Kate Bravery, Partner and Global Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent business added, “Employees today have more options than ever before. They 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 organisation’s ability to engage, inspire, and retain employees of different genders, ages, races, and backgrounds. According to Mercer’s study, leveraging an increasingly diverse labour 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 organisations have placed on developing a diverse workforce has not translated into actions that are visible to employees. While 73 percent of companies are working towards diverse leadership teams, only 54 percent of employees say their organisation has effective programmes in place to do so.

“Bridging the gap between employee and employer views will require substantial changes from HR,” said 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 organisations to address this year:

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

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

Regional differences

The report also found some differences by region; with only half of employees in Europe (51 percent) reporting that their leaders are engaged in championing development programmes and fewer European organisations plan to make changes to their performance management programmes in 2016 (53 percent compared to 57 percent globally).

Employees in North America are most likely to say that they have the resources they need to be more productive; 73 percent report that they have the right tools and technology, and 69 percent report that they have creative training available. Additionally, 58 percent of organisations in North America plan to make changes to their performance management programmes, with nearly 30 percent planning to eliminate ratings in 2016, compared to 22 percent globally.

Employees in Asia are the least likely to report that flexible work schedules would improve their work situation (38 percent compared to 46 percent globally). Notably, organisations in Asia recognise the importance of HR skills and are more likely to invest in upskilling; 44 percent in the region and 53 percent in China have plans in place to build this capability in 2016 (compared to 36 percent globally).

Big data management is a trend that is influencing the people agenda in Australia more than any other region (it is one of the three top trends influencing talent plans in 2016). Additionally, more than three-quarters (79 percent) of employers in Australia are focused on developing local leaders in emerging economies, compared to 62 percent globally. Yet transparency with pay is an area of contention; the findings show just 81 percent of organisations report they are transparent compared to just 58 percent of employees.

Despite high levels of confidence in development efforts by employers, only half (56 percent)of employees in Latin America report that their leaders are engaged in championing development programmes. Latin America is the only region where managing a contingent workforce is a workforce trend impacting talent management plans this year.

Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study examines the top trends impacting today’s workforce and how organisations are responding. The study, which incorporates the views of both employers and employees on key workplace issues and priorities, is based on the perspectives of more than 1,730 HR leaders and over 4,500 employees in all industries across 17 countries.

For more information or to download the full report, click here.