In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Nearly half of employees worry that flex work will steal their job promotions

Almost all companies (96%) are now ready to reorganise and adapt to flex work in the next two years.

Flexible work is becoming more accepted in Singapore, as nearly all (96%) of companies are planning an organisation redesign in the next two years in order to adapt to change, Mercer revealed in its 2018 Global Talent Trends Study. However, it also revealed that nearly half (48%) of employees are concerned that flex work will affect their promotion opportunities.

The report also revealed that only 3% of HR leaders say that flex is visibly present in their organisation, even if 82% of executives say that it is core to their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Still, 82% of employees in Singapore view flex work options as a core part of their value proposition, as younger employees think about their careers in a different way, to seek purpose over presence at work. "More organisations will become more responsive to employees, such as women with young families, by providing permanent flexibility in workplaces, so that they do not stand to lose a valuable talent pool," the report said.

Vidisha Mehta, career solutions leader - South & East Asia, IMETA at Mercer commented, “Given the ageing population in Singapore, ensuring a diverse talent pool in the workforce for all life stages is both a business and a societal imperative. Introducing permanent flexibility in workplaces is challenging for organisations in traditional industries such as manufacturing, as it involves offering flexible working hours and contract workforces to project-based freelance staff. Options also include borrowing talent from related sectors, clients and vendors, as well as crowdsourcing options."

Meanwhile, those expecting the most disruption are working agility into their model and placing bets on flatter, more networked structures (37% are forming more holacratic work teams). However, HR leaders in Singapore feel less prepared to reskill existing employees (60% are confident that they can do this well) than to hire from the outside (69%). As 43% of executives predict at least one in five roles in their organization will cease to exist in the next five years, being prepared for job displacement and reskilling is critical for organizational survival, Mercer added.

Yet, only 38% of companies are increasing access to online learning courses and the same number (38%) are actively rotating talent within the business.

"To find purpose, employees crave movement, learning, and experimentation," Mercer said. If not received, they will look for it elsewhere – over half (57%) of Singaporean employees satisfied in their current job still plan to leave due to a perceived lack of career opportunity. In addition to purpose, the new value proposition includes health and financial well-being.

The report also revealed that Singaporean companies lag on delivering a consumer-grade experience – only 2% consider themselves a digital organisation today, compared to an average of 15% worldwide. About 59% of employees say that state-of-the-art tools are important for success, but less than half (41%) say they have the digital tools necessary to do their job and only 38% have digital interactions with HR.

"Business leaders are confident in HR’s ability to be a strategic partner in setting the course for the future, with 69% of executives reporting that HR aligns people strategy with the strategic priorities of the business," it added.

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