Executives in India Inc are prioritising workforce upskilling and reskilling in a year when they are faced with challenges that include talent acquisition, employee engagement, and employee sickness and productivity, reveals Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study.
The study highlights that difficulty in hiring the right talent, at the right price, and in time remains a top concern (71 per cent) in 2022. In response, companies are reshaping talent strategies focusing more on internal talent marketplaces and leveraging the gig economy (42 per cent). Companies that are pursuing this objective have been investing in targeted learning programmes and offering internal gig experiences to bridge skill gaps. What they are grappling with, however, is how to scale in a sustainable manner.
Meanwhile, employees are struggling to find time to learn new skills (36 per cent). “Resetting the skills agenda to meet both current and future talent needs will ensure people are, and remain, employable. Harnessing AI (artificial intelligence) and technology will be a critical factor in designing and driving skills-based talent practices at scale,” said Padma Ramanathan, country report lead and principal, talent advisory, Mercer.
“In an employee-centric labour market, where the majority of employees want choice, we are seeing organisations wanting to partner with employees to co-create work models based on where/when/how employees want to work and rethink pay and benefit strategies customised to target populations,” she added.
In terms of retaining talent, the study found that having sustainability strategies and goals makes a difference. Over one-third of employees value the organisation’s brand and reputation, and equal career progression opportunities, citing it as the second reason for joining their current employer (after job security). Organisations that walk the talk on their core values — through company purpose, work standards and investment strategies — will better relate with their stakeholders and be better positioned to deliver business. An overwhelming 99 per cent of employees in India expect their employer to pursue a sustainability agenda that balances financial results with social issues, diversity/equity, and environmental impact.
In response, one clear shift is visible in moving from intent to action on DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) — for example, accounting for diverse circumstances in redesigned policies or tailoring for a multi-generational workforce.
People no longer want to work for a company, they want to work with a company. Nearly all executives say they are in an employee-centric labour market and 82 per cent of HR professionals are predicting higher than normal turnover this year — most notably with regard to younger workers and those in the digital space. Relatable organisations see the value in “partnering” over “leading” as evidenced in the evolving “return-to-work” strategies. Seventy-four per cent of employees would join a company only if they can work remotely or in a hybrid engagement.
More than half of HR leaders cite flexibility as a key lever for sourcing, attracting and retaining a diverse talent pool and a similar majority believe that they can build cultures and practices that are adaptive by design to cater to a flexible model.
“Respecting individual choice, and treating employees as equal stakeholders in designing work and workplace is at the heart of ‘working with the company’. At the same time, ensuring employees feel the choice is fair and equitable to all work groups will be key to success,” said Shanthi Naresh, partner and India career business leader at Mercer.