Article: Three tips for building a future-fit organization

Strategic HR

Three tips for building a future-fit organization

As society embraces a digital future, preparation is key to thinking systematically about the opportunities ahead and accelerating progress toward the future of work. Are you ready?
Three tips for building a future-fit organization

Disruption is the New Norm — What Are You Doing About It?

Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study reveals that 73 percent of executives are predicting significant disruption in the next few years — up from 26 percent in 2018 — and nearly all are taking action to prepare for the future of work. 

This sharp shift in perception of the future business environment demands new workforce strategies if companies are to stay ahead. As the pace of change accelerates and we enter into a new world of work, it’s more crucial than ever that companies rethink their people agenda to unlock human potential and adopt new strategies to become ready for the future. 

But where do you start? Read on for three tips to help you build a future-fit organization.      

Tip #1: De-Risk

Create an evolving organization that’s human-led and digitally enabled.

Nearly every company we surveyed in our 2019 Global Talent Trends study is actively embracing change: 99% of participating companies report taking action to get ready for the future of work. 

One way companies are preparing for this is by creating an integrated people strategy that pays attention to today’s needs, while tipping the balance in favor of investing in tomorrow. 

What this means is that companies should concentrate now on building the leadership, culture, competencies and skills needed for future competitive advantage. This includes redesigning jobs and moving people to where future value will be created. It also demands rethinking of the HR lifecycle to make it more agile and embracing digitalization to enable HR to make these critical transformation efforts with greater efficiency, flexibility, and speed.

Tip #2: Innovate

Design agile rewards. 

Our 2019 Global Talent Trends research shows that the #1 workforce rewards priority is offering more diverse rewards. This finding comes as no surprise as companies are recognizing that the future of rewards lies in innovation. 

What does this mean and how can companies drive innovation? It starts with understanding and building the various employee personas in an organization, and then designing a rewards program for each — unlike a blanket one-size-fits-all approach, this ensures rewards are meaningful. Equally important is communicating these rewards programs using channels that are relevant to employees. Employers that offer the most compelling rewards will succeed in attracting top talent.

In Asia especially, employers are actively seeking a new and fresh take on benefits that will help set their employer brand apart. To truly align the business, investments in rewards should reflect a company’s strategic focus. In many cases, this means taking a step away from market norms and moving towards more differentiated offerings to satisfy both changing employee needs and the demand for new skills. Leading firms are concentrating on the overall pay experience, expanding their focus beyond base pay to include career growth, incentives, and recognition.

Tip #3: Empower

Curate the employee experience.

More than half (54%) of the organizations we surveyed conduct engagement surveys at least twice a year, yet only 33% can identify the key drivers of engagement. So what really drives engagement? 

Employers must identify what their people want most out of work, and understand employees’ challenges and experiences in the workplace. Employers must start investing in the kind of experiences they create for their employees to build a work environment that appeals to the future workforce.

For many employees, opportunities for learning and development are critical. Offering employees the opportunity to upskill and/or reskill gives them a greater sense of mastery, the chance to learn something new and the ability to hone their skills. 

Empowering employees to be more intentional about their careers and giving them a sense of autonomy in their work are vital too. By curating careers, organizations can provide employees with new ways to grow — for example, through mobility programs or internal gig platforms, where employees can apply their expertise and gain new experiences. At the same time, employers can help build and nurture the broad skills and adaptable mindset needed for the future of work. 

Since employees also crave work that is fueled by purpose and want to be part of something bigger, building a coherent sense of identity and purpose, and fostering employees’ sense of connection within the workplace and to the company are crucial to building a 21st-century employee experience. 

As our research shows, making the work experience relevant to individual employees helps them grow and thrive. What we see increasingly is that empowerment is a key enabler of these work experiences. Leaders who manage to achieve these objectives will power great performance in their organization.  

Preparing for the #FutureOfWork

As society embraces a digital future, preparation is key to thinking systematically about the opportunities ahead and accelerating progress toward the future of work. Are you ready?

To learn more, join Mercer's executives and industry experts — at our upcoming Asia HR conferences in Singapore and Shanghai. Find Out More. 

Watch a video: Becoming Future-fit in Digital Age

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Topics: Strategic HR, #FutureOfWork

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