Time for a new approach

March 20, 2014
By: Vicki Bell

Concerned about landing and keeping the right workers? A new study shows that you’re not alone in this concern. It also sheds light on why this is a growing issue that is stunting global business growth.

Turns out it’s more than just a shortage of skilled workers that may be impeding organizational growth. It’s also a failure of businesses to be prepared to respond to the challenges of the highly connected and global 21st-century workforce.

Speaking about The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report, Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, part of Deloitte Consulting LLP, said, “Millennials are reshaping the talent markets with new expectations; new technologies are changing work in countless ways; and we are more frequently competing and racing with machines for knowledge work. The findings of our global survey reveal that a majority of global organizations are not prepared to deal with these trends that are reshaping the workforce.”

According to the report, the single biggest challenge cited by most (86 percent) respondents is leadership development, followed by retention and engagement (79 percent), and reskilling the HR function (77 percent). Importantly, most respondents indicate that their organizations are not ready to address these challenges.

While all of these challenges are important and go hand-in-hand, the second is perhaps the most important for many manufacturers struggling to find and keep the right workers.

The report found that retention and engagement of employees is an area where executives rate themselves as either "weak" or just "adequate." More than one-third (38 percent) report they are "weak" at integrating social, community, and corporate programs and aligning employee and corporate goals. Four-in-ten respondents (40 percent) state their organization is "weak" in helping employees balance their personal and professional lives, and only eight percent believe they have a strategy to help employees manage the barrage of information they receive every day.

"Twenty-first century employees have radically different expectations about work than those of previous generations," says Bersin. "Today, people want to work for organizations that continually invest in developing their skills, thereby enabling them to stay relevant in the ever-changing workforce. They also want balance, passion, and purpose in their jobs. This changing employment value proposition requires organizations to align their business and corporate objectives with the professional, personal, and social goals of their employees and give them an opportunity to make a difference, not just earn a paycheck."

Delving deeper into the challenges attracting and engaging employees, the report looked at critical areas and concluded the following:

  • Reinventing talent acquisition: Even as the majority of respondents (62 percent) say their organizations rely on social tools for sourcing and advertising positions, when it comes to fully utilizing analytics for recruitment and staffing, more than half (54 percent) indicate that their practices are "weak."
  • The overwhelmed employee: Information overload and the always connected 24/7 work environment are overwhelming workers, undermining productivity and contributing to low employee engagement. Sixty-five percent of executives responding to the survey rate the overwhelmed employee phenomenon as being an urgent or important trend, while 44 percent say that they are "not ready" to deal with it.
  • Engaging the 21st-century employee: Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2015, and 66 percent of the respondents report "weak" capabilities when it comes to providing focused leadership programs for Millennials, and 58 percent of executives report "weak" capabilities in "providing programs for younger, older and multi-generational workforces," underscoring the challenges associated with a multi-generational 21st-century workforce.
  • Shifting from diversity to inclusion: Nearly all respondents say their organizations promote diversity, but most fail to realize the business benefits of a diverse workforce. About one-third (34 percent) of respondents say their organizations are unprepared in this area, while only 20 percent claim to be fully ready.

If you feel that this whole engagement thing is just too much for you, maybe you should look at investing in more technology. Yet another study, albeit a self-serving one, shows that 72 percent of small business owners indicate new technologies will offer a bigger return on their investment than new employees (28 percent) in 2014.

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Vicki Bell

Vicki Bell

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8209