Top employers are finding their way through uncertain economic times with a clearer focus on the health, financial wellbeing and careers of their employees, a study suggests.
Mercer, the worldwide consultancy firm, said that its 2020 Global Talent Trends study identifies four trends for employers to “win with empathy” in an environment that is driving rapid change in the way we work.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent uncertainty are bringing about changes in the way organisations around the world are working and will continue to work into the future, Mercer said.
The best employers are focusing on their workforce, specifically fostering healthy lifestyles, supporting financial wellness and providing skills and training as careers change due to AI and technology developments, the consultancy has found.
According to Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends study, 34% of employees expect their jobs to be replaced in three years, 61% of employees believe their employers are preparing them for the future of work and 55% trust their organisation to reskill them if their job changes as a result of automation.
Mercer said its study shows that as employers transform to tackle these matters, they should reconsider their company’s purpose and their responsibilities to employees and employees’ future earnings, since 63% of HR leaders predict stagnant wage growth.
Ilya Bonic, president, career and head of strategy at Mercer, said: “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.” Bonic said 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.
Mercer’s study identifies four trends for 2020:
Focus on Futures: 85% of executives agree that the organisation’s purpose should extend beyond shareholder primacy, yet only 35% 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, beyond just shareholders and investors.
Race to Reskill: Companies should look to transform the workforce by reskilling for a new world economy. Reskilling is the talent investment most capable of driving business success, and 99% of all organisations are embarking on transformation and report significant skill gaps.
Sense with Science: Employers should look ahead by augmenting AI with human intuition. Use of predictive analytics has nearly quadrupled in five years (from 10% in 2016 to 39% today). Yet, only 43% of organisations use metrics to identify employees likely to leave, 41% know when critical talent is likely to retire, 18% know the impact of pay strategies on performance, 15% can determine if it is better to buy/build/borrow employees and 12% are using analytics to correct inequities and prevent them recurring. Mercer said that the availability of data and capability of analytics has increased but “with great data comes great responsibility” and the challenge is for organisations to use it effectively to inform strategy through ethical means.
Energise the Experience: Companies should aim to inspire and invigorate people by redesigning their work experience. Delivering on the employee experience is HR’s top priority, and 58% of organisations are redesigning to become more “people-centric”. However, only 27% of executives believe employee experience will yield a business return. And, even though 61% of employees trust their employer to look after their wellbeing and 48% of executives rank it as a top workforce concern, only 29% of HR leaders have a health and wellbeing strategy.
Laura McKim, Partner and UK Career Business Leader at Mercer, said that “never more than now” has placing employees’ interests at the heart of businesses been “more timely or important”.
She said: “Improving the employee experience tops HR’s future of work priorities in Europe, North America and the Middle East, with the UK aliginig with thistrend aligning with this trend.”