Companies worldwide continue to evaluate their current situation and chart a course for the future. Given the turbulence of the past couple of years, forecasting for any amount of time presents challenges. However, the results of this year's Global Talent Trends study can help you. The study confirms that the past 2 years have permanently impacted people's views about work, workers, and working. Here are the 5 trends we see in the market responses.
1. Reset for relevance
Recent events have left an indelible mark on the attitudes of investors, employees, and consumers. The new world of work is more nuanced and personalized. It demands a reset of priorities, beginning with developing new skills around listening, learning, and adapting to identify and address unmet needs.
Companies that lead with values and an adaptive design are building resilience. One in 3 executives believes investing in such standards will deliver measurable return on investment (ROI) to their business. Companies that fail to adapt and act will lose the ability to raise capital, attract and retain employees, and stay relevant.
In fact, there are 5 things Mercer identifies as “the Rise of the Relatable Organization.”
- Constantly resetting and adapting for relevance
- Figuring out new ways to work in partnership
- Working hard to deliver on total well-being
- Building for employability
- Harnessing collective energy in ever more intelligent ways
2. Work in partnership
People no longer want to work for you; they want to work with you. This shift in the social contract of work will only succeed if everyone feels they are getting a fair deal. 70% of HR respondents predict higher than average employee attrition this year. Creating equitable, transparent, and rewarding partnerships will position companies for the best chance of retaining talent.
Over a third of executives say that new employment models (remote, hybrid, or gig) are influencing their 3-year plans. Yet, only 28% of HR leaders are confident that their organization can mitigate biases stemming from flexible working choices. As flexibility becomes a hallmark of permanent roles, less secure forms of employment like gig and freelance work often offer fewer benefits and will fall out of favor. A change in the social contract will be necessary to make gig and freelance work more attractive.
Relatable organizations are developing a partnership mindset across their ecosystem. They partner with employees and seek new ways of working that suit the hybrid world, requiring new work models and presenting an opportunity to build business resilience.
Talent/skill acquisition and retention are a CEO's top 2 requests of HR in 2022. Addressing the impact of remote, hybrid, and gig work models on pay, career, and health equity will be paramount. Relatable organizations are incorporating equity and inclusion into talent models, accessing broader and more diverse talent pools, and creating robust supplier and partner networks.
3. Deliver on total well-being
The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the health and wealth gaps between different groups, underscoring that the current accessibility and affordability of care are not enough. Thriving employees are 3 times more likely to say their company cares about their mental health. Meanwhile, the Global Talent Trends study revealed that 1 in 2 employees does not feel financially secure for the future. A relatable employer will nurture a healthy workforce with benefits that matter.
The ROI of benefits is no longer calculated as a return on investment (decreasing costs or minimizing liability exposure). Instead, it is shifting to a more human-centered "return on the individual." This new ROI puts the onus on an employer to address employees' unmet needs — to ensure they are emotionally, physically, socially, and financially healthy.
This new ROI puts the onus on an employer to address employees' unmet needs — to ensure they are emotionally, physically, socially, and financially healthy.
Total well-being is only #7 on HR's priority list for 2022, but it is the #2 initiative that executives believe will deliver the most significant ROI. Relatable organizations recognize the role total well-being plays in employees' productivity and ability to thrive. Such firms actively support the well-being outcomes of their entire workforce by encouraging healthy, rewarding, and sustainable work behaviors and by offering personalized support during moments that matter.
4. Build for employability
The race to reskill has laid the groundwork for a new learning culture, but it has failed to close the supply and demand gap for both skills and workers. This persistent problem highlights the role organizations must play, not just in ensuring their sustainability but also in safeguarding the future employability of their people.
Only 1 in 3 HR leaders believes gig workers can close the skill gap, but 2 in 3 executives believe gig workers will substantially replace full-time employees in their company in 1-3 years.
The pandemic underscored the importance of a skills-based and inclusive talent model. It highlighted how agile work design is critical in building the workforce of the future. Companies are looking to artificial intelligence or talent marketplace platforms to offer talent intelligence, curate learning, and facilitate the seamless matching of skills to work.
Investing in reskilling/upskilling sits at #6 on HR's priority list, but executives say it is the #1 workforce initiative that would deliver measurable ROI in 2022. More than ever, relatable organizations instill a mindset of lifelong learning, democratizing work opportunities, and helping workers of all backgrounds and generations pave a pathway to prosperity.
5. Harness collective energy
For many years, the "future of work" has been a hot topic, but until recently, it was considered a long-term play. The pandemic has accelerated this change and has exponentially increased the urgency to adopt new business models, new ways of working, and new technologies.
Mercer's Global Talent Trends survey reports that 94% of HR leaders are concerned about their organization's ability to deliver on the transformation agenda. Ideas that were once met with resistance, skepticism, or reluctance are recognized as solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time. The answers are not without challenges. Even though 1 in 3 say employee exhaustion is a barrier to transformation, they are also more optimistic and believe these changes will ultimately result in more balanced work.
Human-centered work environments unlock untapped potential. Companies are driving a reset of how employees relate to their organization, seeking to help them rediscover the joy of working, learning, and laughing together. The key to unlocking this positive collective energy is evaluating how best to manage the necessary transformation to a better work-life balance.
Today, companies have a unique opportunity to unlock workforce energy by ensuring that the transformation agenda is coupled with a deep focus on how humans work best. Redesigning HR for a more relatable and sustainable future will be as important as managing your workforce development.
HR was the hero of the past 2 years, according to 76% of executives and 83% plan to ask even more of them in 2022.
The future is bright, and relatable organizations are leading the way. To find out how this year's trends impact your country and industry, reach out to your local Mercer consultant. Download the full report to read more about how to help your people earn, learn, and laugh together.
If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-286-5302 today!