Nearly all (94%) of executives in Singapore predict significant disruption in the next three years, compared to 25% in 2018, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study. As executives focus on making their organizations “future-fit”, significant human capital risks – including the ability to close the skills gap and overcome employee change fatigue – can impede transformation progress. Addressing these concerns is paramount, given that less than half of executives rate their company’s ability to mitigate human capital risks as very effective, says the report.
“Over the last few years, organizations have moved from anticipation to action in preparing for the future of work. But they risk bewildering people with too much change, ignoring the values individuals admire and inundating them with an endless process,” said Ilya Bonic, President of Mercer’s Career business.
The study finds that job security is one of the top three reasons employees in Singapore joined, and stay at, their company. Yet, one in two employees are concerned that AI and automation will replace their job.
The way to help employees feel secure is to foster human connections. Thriving employees (those prospering in the areas of health, wealth, and career) are three times as likely to describe their role as “relationship-focused” and twice as likely to describe their work environment as “collaborative.”
“The future of work is about connectivity, creating a work environment that appeals to today’s workforce by building a coherent sense of identity, sparking connections, and using data to personalize the experience,” said Kate Bravery, Career Global Solutions Leader at Mercer.
Top trends companies are pursuing in 2019
Aligning work to future value: With 59% of companies in Singapore planning to invest more in automation this year, AI and automation continue to transform the competitive landscape and reshape how work gets done. The climate of uncertainty is impacting Singapore-based employees as well, with two-thirds asking for more clearly defined responsibilities. Yet, job redesign is low on the C-suite agenda, with only one in six executives in Singapore saying that redefining jobs would have a sizeable impact on the company’s business performance. “To address the challenges ahead, HR must take an integrated approach to people strategy and leverage the right talent analytics to inform decisions on the future size and shape of the organization – yet less than one-third of companies have good insights into the business impact of their buy, build, borrow, and automate strategies,” says the report.
Building brand resonance: What matters to employees and job seekers is the way a company conducts business and upholds the values of its brand. In a social, transparent world, the lines are blurring between a company’s consumer brand and its talent value proposition (TVP). Successful companies ensure that their brand resonates with all workforce segments – 68% of high-growth organizations globally differentiate their TVP to different groups (such as contingent workers), compared to 47% of modest-growth companies, and organizations in Singapore are on the same journey with nearly two-thirds of all companies already doing this. An organization’s total rewards philosophy is one area where brand values can shine.
Curating the work experience: An effective and relevant day-to-day work experience is essential for retaining top talent. According to the study, thriving employees are two times more likely to work for an organization that enables quick decision-making (80% vs. 41%) and nearly three times more likely for one that provides tools and resources for them to do their job efficiently (80% vs. 30%).
Delivering talent-led change: To ensure talent is at the center of change, HR should have a voice in business transformation. This year’s study found 64% of HR leaders in Singapore are involved in executing major change projects, but only half (54%) participated in the idea generation stage of transformation initiatives. HR sees employee morale as a significant barrier to making changes stick: “Employee attrition” and a “decline in employee trust” are two of the top five challenges in the year ahead. “These findings point to the need for transformation efforts to focus on people-centered design and better talent metrics to understand how people are experiencing and embracing change,” said Bonic.