The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty is accelerating changes in the way organisations works across the globe.
Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends study shows leading employers are focusing more on the wellbeing of their workforce, particularly by promoting healthy lifestyles, supporting financial wellness and providing skills and training as careers change due to AI and technology.
Although this study was conducted before the recent global crisis, Mercer says these trends are likely to be amplified by recent events.
According to the study, 34 per cent of employees expect their jobs to be replaced in three years, 61 per cent believe their employers are prepared them preparing them for the future of work and 55 per cent trust their organisation to re-skill them if their job changes as a result of automation.
As employers transform to tackle these matters, Mercer says they should reconsider their company’s purpose and their responsibilities to employees and employees’ future earnings, since 63 per cent of HR leaders predict stagnant wage growth. And, they need to do so while facing unforeseen challenges like Covid-19 and a likely economic softening that could impact the adoption of new workforce strategies.
Ilya Bonic, president, career and head of strategy at Mercer says: “Balancing economics and empathy in all people decisions is important, even more so now as we face questions, concerns and the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
“Organisations need to have a financial model and cultural mindset that enables them to prepare for and invest in the future.
“This rethinking of purpose and priorities is vital across the organisation, but especially for HR. The findings from this year’s study make it clear that transformation of the HR function is a key component to creating a sustainable organisation.”
The study identified four key trends for 2020:
Focus on futures: With a new mandate for business, 85 per cent of executives surveyed said the organisation’s purpose should extend beyond shareholder primacy, yet only 35 per cent of companies deliver on this today.Meanwhile, one in three employees say they would prefer to work for an employer that shows responsibility towards all stakeholders, not just shareholders and investors. This is on the executive agenda – with 68 per cent wanting to focus more on environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
Race to re-skill: A total of 99 per cent of organisations surveyed said they are embarking on transformation and report significant skill gaps. Although 78 per cent of employees globally say they are ready to learn new skills, 38 per cent claim they do not have enough time for training. Moreover, just 34 per cent of HR leaders are investing in workforce learning and reskilling as part of their strategy to prepare for the future of work and 40 per cent do not know what skills their workforce has today.
Sense with science: Mercer advisers firms to look ahead and augment AI with human intuition. Advances in machine learning continue to permeate across industries and ways of life: Use of predictive analytics has nearly quadrupled in five years (from 10 per cent in 2016 to 39 per cent today). Yet, only 43 per cent of organisations use metrics to identify employees likely to leave, 41 per cent know when critical talent is likely to retire, 18 per cent know the impact of pay strategies on performance, 15 per cent can determine if it is better to buy/build/borrow employees and 12 per cent are using analytics to correct inequities and prevent them recurring.Other forms of employee engagement data gathering are on the rise too; 62 per cent of companies are using pulse surveys today, and 33 per cent plan to invest in this in 2020.
Energise the experience: Inspire and invigorate people by redesigning their work experience. Delivering on the employee experience is HR’s top priority, and 58 per cent of organisations are redesigning to become more people-centric. Yet, only 27 per cent of executives believe employee experience will yield a business return. And, even though 61 per cent of employees trust their employer to look after their well-being and 48 per cent of executives rank it as a top workforce concern, only 29 per cent of HR leaders have a health and well-being strategy. This is not an area to be missed as employees whose company is focused on employee health and well-being are four times more likely to be energised. Energised employees are essential to realise organisations’ transformation agenda: they are more likely to stay, more resilient, and more ready to re-skill according to Mercer.