With More Business Disruption Expected, Making Organizations “Future-Fit” is Top of Mind, New Study Finds

Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study identifies four top
trends shaping the future of work

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study, nearly
two-thirds (65%) of executives in the United States predict significant
disruption in the next three years, compared to 35% in 2018. As
executives focus on making their organizations “future-fit”, significant
human capital risks – including the ability to close the skills gap and
overcome employee change fatigue – can impede transformation progress.
Addressing these concerns is paramount, given that only 37% of
executives rate their company’s ability to mitigate human capital risks
as very effective.

“Over the last few years, organizations have moved from anticipation to
action in preparing for the future of work. But they risk bewildering
people with too much change, ignoring the values individuals admire, and
inundating them with endless process,” said Ilya Bonic, President of
Mercer’s Career business.

In today’s climate of uncertainty, employees seek stability. Mercer’s
study finds that job security is both one of the top three reasons that
employees join and also stay at their company. Yet, one in five
employees are concerned that AI and automation will replace their job.
The way to help employees feel secure is to foster human connections.
Thriving employees (those prospering in the areas of health, wealth, and
career) are twice as likely to describe their role as “relationship
focused” and their work environment as “collaborative.”

“The future of work is about connectivity, creating a work environment
that appeals to today’s workforce by building a coherent sense of
identity, sparking connections, and using data to personalize the
experience,” said Kate Bravery, Career Global Solutions Leader at Mercer.

Mercer’s study identifies four top trends that leading companies are
pursuing in 2019: Aligning Work to Future Value, Building Brand
Resonance, Curating the Work Experience, and Delivering Talent-led
Change.

Aligning Work to Future Value. AI and automation continue to
transform the competitive landscape – 59% of companies in the US plan to
automate more work in the next 12 months. At the same time, the C-suite
names job redesign as one of the top three areas of talent investment
with the highest potential for return on investment, and 65% of
employees prefer more clearly defined responsibilities. The challenge
for HR is to build an integrated people strategy (an approach deployed
nine times more frequently by high-growth companies) and leverage the
right talent analytics to inform decisions on the future size and shape
of the organization – yet less than one-third of companies have good
insights into the business impact of their buy, build, borrow, and
automate strategies. “The key is aligning jobs and people to where value
is being created, and enabling a mechanism to reward future-fit skills
and behaviors,” said Ms. Bravery.

Building Brand Resonance. What matters to employees and job
seekers is the way a company conducts business and upholds the values of
its brand. In a social, transparent world, the lines are blurring
between a company’s consumer brand and its talent value proposition
(TVP). Successful companies ensure that their brand resonates with all
workforce segments – 63% of high-growth organizations differentiate
their TVP to different groups (such as contingent workers), compared to
37% of modest-growth companies. An organization’s total rewards
philosophy is one area where brand values can shine: Thriving employees
are four times more likely to work for a company that ensures equity in
pay and promotion decisions (80% vs. 20%).

Curating the Work Experience. An effective and relevant
day-to-day work experience is essential for retaining top talent.
According to Mercer’s study, thriving employees are nearly four times
more likely to work for an organization that enables quick
decision-making (83% vs. 22%) and twice as likely for one that provides
tools and resources for them to do their job efficiently (86% vs. 35%).
Personalized and simplified professional development plans are an ask
from employees – more than two-thirds (69%) of employees want curated
learning to help them evolve their skills and prepare for future jobs.
Technology plays a critical role. High-growth firms are twice as likely
as moderate-growth firms to provide a fully digital experience for
employees.

Delivering Talent-led Change. To ensure talent is at the center
of change, HR should have a voice in business transformation. This
year’s study found 61% of HR leaders involved in planning the rollout of
major change projects and 60% involved in executing those plans. But,
only two in five HR leaders participated in the idea generation stage of
transformation initiatives. HR sees employee morale as a significant
barrier to making changes stick: “Employee attrition” and a “decline in
employee trust” are two of the top four challenges in the year ahead.
“These findings point to the need for transformation efforts to focus on
people-centered design and better talent metrics to understand how
people are experiencing and embracing change,” said Mr. Bonic.

Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study shares insights
from over 7,300 senior business executives, HR leaders, and employees
from nine key industries and 16 geographies around the world. To
download the report, visit https://www.mercer.com/global-talent-trends.

About Mercer

Mercer
delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations
meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce.
Mercer’s more than 23,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the
firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary
of Marsh
& McLennan Companies
(NYSE: MMC), the leading global
professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people.
With nearly 65,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $14 billion,
through its market-leading companies including Marsh,
Guy
Carpenter
and Oliver
Wyman
, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly
dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.
Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.

Contacts

Stacy Bronstein
+ 1 215 982 8025
Stacy.Bronstein@mercer.com

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