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Talent management key to business growth

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With tightening labour markets, increased sophistication in hiring for best fit, and a more demanding employee population, the key to achieving business growth is radically redefining how talent is managed, developed and incentivised.
This is according to Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study, which examines the top trends impacting today’s workforce and how organisations are responding. The study incorporates the views of both employers and employees on key workplace issues and priorities, and is based on the perspectives of more than 1 730 HR leaders and over ,500 employees in all industries across 17 countries. South Africa was also a part of this global study.
The Mercer study was the first study to take into account the perspective of both employers and employees, and found that a lack of development, outdated processes and discontent with the role of managers are the main drivers of workforce dissatisfaction.
Astonishingly, 85% of organisations report that their talent management programmes 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 organisations.
Additionally, Mercer’s study finds nine out of 10 organisations 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 organisations 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.
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% of companies are working towards diverse leadership teams, only 54% 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. 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 will 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 career;
* Simplify talent processes; and
* Redefine the value of HR.
While these priorities are consistent across organisations and regions, they are viewed differently by employees and employers.
The survey found that almost one-third (31%) of South African companies report HR process simplification as a top talent management priority in 2016.
South Africa reported the highest score on this amongst all countries that contributed to the survey.
In addition, a very high percentage of 83% of the companies state that their work environment (workplace design, layout and amenities) supports employee productivity.
Furthermore, 83% of companies are stating that their leaders are being held accountable for attracting and supporting diverse, inclusive teams.
For performance management ratings, more than one-half (55%) of South African companies did not make any changes to their ratings in 2015. However, almost one-third (31%) of South African companies did eliminate ratings in 2015. This is the second highest percent across all countries.
Finally, four in 10 (41%) South African companies report that a change plan has been approved to implement workforce training in 2016.
Anne-Magriet Schoeman, Mercer Africa talent leader, comments: “This study shows that the workforce of today 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.”