In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Only 1 in 4 Singapore companies say their talent strategies are ‘change agile'

HR leaders do not have job redesign on their list of priorities for 2017.

As the competition for talent continues to rise and business models are disrupted by technology and socio-demographic shifts, organisations are still taking an evolutionary approach to their talent strategies in the face of revolutionary changes.

According to Mercer’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Study, the majority (75%) of organisations surveyed in Singapore report they are planning to redesign their structure in the next two years, yet just 25% of business executives say their organisation is “change agile” – although this is significantly higher than the global average of just 4%.

“In an age where digitisation, robotics, and AI are wreaking havoc with traditional business models, it is easy for executives to focus on superior technology as the solution to ensuring the competitiveness of their organisations and to overlook the human element,” said Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s career business.

“Growth rests on engaging and empowering today’s workforce in ways that we are just beginning to uncover. It takes employees armed with the right skills and opportunities to develop innovative solutions to advance the business and themselves.”

Mercer’s study shares insights from over 7,500 perspectives globally, 445 of these in Singapore, and compares the views of senior business executives, HR leaders, and employees from organisations around the world. The report assesses significant gaps in alignment, identifies several critical disconnects concerning change, and makes recommendations to capture growth.

Most notably, despite organisations’ plans to transform, HR leaders do not have organisation or job redesign on their list of priorities for 2017. In fact, the top priorities of HR leaders – specifically developing leaders for succession, building skills across the workforce, identifying high potentials, and attracting top talent externally – reflect the priority of evolving employee capabilities, but may not align with executive’s goals for more substantial workplace change.

Additionally, whilst HR leaders express confidence in the talent management processes they have in place (68%), employees are still looking elsewhere for new opportunities. Slightly under half (44%) of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months, even though they are satisfied in their jobs.

Equally concerning is that those employees not planning to leave their current roles report they are less “energised” in terms of bringing their authentic selves to work and therefore, less likely to thrive in a collaborative and innovative workplace. Moreover, both business executives and HR professionals alike are viewing talent scarcity acutely, with 50% and 43%, respectively, expecting a significant increase in competition.

“Organisations need to prioritise a culture of agility to stay ahead of rapidly changing market trends,” said Kate Bravery, global leader for Mercer’s career business. “Those employers that empower their workforce – by helping them plan for the unknown, mitigate risk, and thrive at work – will be more successful in building a responsive and successful organization.”

Puneet Swani, partner and growth markets career business leader at Mercer, added, “In an established financial hub such as Singapore, it is imperative to fully understand patterns in talent flow and drivers of change. It is encouraging to see that compared to the global average, 25% of companies in the Red Dot city consider their organisations as ‘change agile’, but this only puts a spotlight on the 75% of companies highlighting their need to rethink their talent infrastructure and day to day practices helping them to become more prepared and stay ahead in this competitive landscape.” 

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