From technological advances to changes in the global economy, there are plenty of external forces transforming today’s world of work. Though many of the world’s leading economies now boast pro-business policies, and the rise of artificial intelligence, connectivity and other tools make it easier than ever to be productive, problems—from geopolitical conflicts to talent migration—remain.
According to new research from Mercer, 73% of executives predict significant industry disruption in the next three years, up from just 26% in 2018. Yet, four out of five executives believe their company can lead the disruption in their industry. The key to staying ahead of the changes that loom? Preparation.
In its annual report, Mercer evaluated some of the biggest shifts and trends that are top of mind for CHROs today. Here’s what to be ready for:
1) Talent Migration Is Happening
The competition for talent is more fierce than ever, with talent leaving organizations to work for companies that offer better pay, use newer technology and promise improved work experiences. Yet only one in three HR managers rate their company’s ability to mitigate this talent migration risk as "very effective." According to the report, this may be because HR teams don’t feel supported in their efforts to retain employees. Only 29% of them strongly agree that C-suite executives prioritize human capital risks and give them the resources needed—i.e., funds for raises, approval of rewards initiatives, etc—to retain them.
2) Workers Need—and Want—to Keep Learning
Upskilling and reskilling are becoming increasingly important to CHROs, rising from ninth to third position on their agendas this year. To help close the skills gap created by the emergence of new technology, 51% work with their HR teams to develop a future-focused people strategy, 48% adapt job requirements based on new technologies and business objectives and 45% revise the workforce plan to close skills gaps via a combination of employee-directed learning, formal reskilling programs and informal hands-on learning.
Employees play a role in their own skill-boosting as well: 83% of workers see it as primarily their responsibility (rather than their company’s) to keep their skills up to date. Workers agreed that creative thinking and learning about technology are the two top skills that would help them stay competitive.
3) Your Workers Crave Flexibility—So They’re Going Freelance
In Mercer’s report, 54% of employees said managing their work-life balance is one of the top five things their company can do to help them thrive at work. What’s more, 82% of them say that they would be willing to consider working on a freelance basis. In general, the popularity of freelance work is rising—79% of executives expect that contingent and freelance workers will substantially replace full-time employees in the coming years. If you don’t want to lose your workers to the freelance economy, it’s time to give them the flexibility they desire. That means negotiable hours and the option to work remotely.
4) Diversity Is Important, but Still Lagging
This year, Mercer found that delivering on diversity promises was a top workforce concern for organizations, but not enough action has been taken. Only 22% of employees give their company an "A" grade for ensuring equity in pay and promotion decisions, for example. And while new technology such as AI may be promising, as companies turn to these tools to institute and automate hiring practices, it’s up to HR to ensure that AI-driven decisions are fair and do not institutionalize biases. Technology is only as unbiased and effective as the person who programmed it, the report explains.
5) In the Years to Come, HR Will Need to Transform Talent Experience
As the team that interacts with and reaches every individual in an organization, HR has the opportunity to shape organizational transformation efforts, especially when it comes to prioritizing talent experience and making their companies a better place to work. Yet, today, only two in five HR leaders participate in the idea generation stage of major change projects. One reason for this? Both the C-suite and HR are experiencing "change fatigue," Mercer found.
This is a missed opportunity, given that three-quarters of organizations say they are still on the journey to providing a fully engaging, digital experience for employees. As of right now, only one in three HR leaders have "redesigning the employee experience through technology," such as chatbots and other AI-powered tools that make work easier, on their to-do list for 2019. For CHROs, the key is to help their teams brush off any fatigue that may exist and generate excitement about improving the talent experience. After all, as experience improves, so will recruiting and retention efforts.
Photo: Creative Commons
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4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy
Social media is ubiquitous, and companies are using it in many different and innovative ways for enhancing their sales, marketing and customer services. So why is it then that many HR departments still fail to see social media as more than a job board? Outside of the office, the same HR people happily engage with friends on Facebook, share news and ideas on Twitter, look at pictures on Instagram and send snaps on Snapchat. But when they put their work hat on they seemingly forget why they use social in the way they (and hundreds of millions of other users) do every day, and resort back to just posting jobs (in a boring way) on social media! Of course there is nothing wrong with job posting, and it's often an effective approach to reaching an audience, but not all of the time. According to LinkedIn, only 12 percent of the working population are actively seeking new employment. So, if all you do is post jobs on your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, you are consciously ignoring the other 88 percent of the working population who might be interested in hearing more about your company in general. Creating and sharing interesting content about your company such as employee stories or volunteer days help bring your employer brand to life. It might even trigger people to reach out to you and find out more about your job opportunities. In truth, mixing up your social media feeds with a variety of content will provide more depth and candidate engagement. Here are four ways to expand your social media strategy and engage with new potential candidates. 1) Candidate Sourcing With people using an average of more than five social networks, sourcing talent via social media makes absolute sense. Branch out from just using LinkedIn and look to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to search for and engage with prospective talent. Try search tools like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords and job titles, a clever Chrome browser extension called Intelligence Search that easily searches Facebook and using the search bar at the top of Google+. They will help you identify new talent. If you are looking to build social media pipelines then try Hello Talent. It is a great free tool that allows you to build talent pipelines from many different social networks by using a browser extension. 2) Competitor Monitoring Social media is a fantastic source of information and data. By using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, you can monitor the social media activity of your competitors. Both of these tools allow you to set up search columns, where you can enter things like keywords, hashtags, Twitter names and track when any of these are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. You can use the interact or use the insights accordingly. 3) Resources for Candidates Consider your Facebook page (or Twitter channel) as a real-time customer services channel for you to engage and communicate with both new and existing candidates in the recruitment process. Provide links to your social media pages to candidates at all stages in the process and encourage them to visit the pages and ask questions about any part of the process. You can also share useful information about working for the company, including locations, employees and other relevant news. 4) Live Recruitment Events Not everyone can attend the many recruitment events happening every month. But by using social media like Twitter, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, you can easily provide live commentary for these events you attend or host. Real-time video via Facebook Live and interaction via Twitter chats are superb examples of ways to regularly engage with a live audience of potential candidates. With social media firmly established in our working lives, I question how much more evidence HR departments will need to fully embrace this "new" form of candidate engagement. Photo: Twenty20
Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Missed the Recruiting Trends conference? From the state of recruiting automation adoption, to the role that the human element still plays in recruiting, our recap covers everything you need to know. Header photo: Creative Commons
The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt
Modern companies are more than just employers — increasingly, they are also gyms, cafeterias and even laundromats. As perks like yoga class, free lunch and complimentary dry cleaning become the norm, companies continue to push the boundaries on ways to attract and retain top talent by providing much more than a paycheck to employees. The latest in the slew of new workplace benefits? Student loan assistance. In April, Chegg partnered with Tuition.io to give full-time employees extra cash for student loan reduction. Then in September, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced it would provide up to $1,200 to help employees pay off loans annually. As a benefit, student loan assistance programs are certainly still in their infancy— one survey found that only 3 percent of companies offer such a benefit. But experts say that may soon change as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a competitive hiring environment. "We think student loan benefits are poised to be the next big benefit; similar to what 401(k) matching was when it was first introduced," says Dana Rosenberg, who leads employer and affinity group partnerships at Earnest, a lender that offers student loan refinancing and works with companies to create loan pay-down programs. The Burden of Student Debt Such programs could be extremely attractive to debt-laden Millennials. Around 40 million Americans collectively carry $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, and the graduating class of 2015 was the most indebted class in history with an average debt of $35,000 (a superlative they won't hold for long come May 2016.) For employers looking to adjust benefits to correspond to the changing demographics of their employee base, student loan programs hit the mark. "In 2016, our employees will be 80 percent millennials, and we also hire close to 11,000 employees directly out of school each year," says Terri McClements, Washington Metro managing partner of PwC. With student debt often preventing young people from participating in 401(k) plans and reaching traditional life milestones, the benefit could potentially make a large impact on employees' financial and personal well-being. A study from the American Student Association found that 73 percent of people with student loans reported putting off saving for retirement or other investments due to their debt, 75 percent reported delaying a home purchase and 27 percent reported it was difficult to buy daily necessities. "Student loans can be a very stressful thing to deal with, so if we can give our employees peace of mind, that's great," says Caroline Gennaro, corporate communications manager at Chegg. The Allure for Employers Student debt assistance programs aren't just attractive to employees, either. Rosenberg says there are significant benefits for the organizations that offer them as well. "Employers that offer programs to help their employees get out from under their debt load are seeing big benefits: increased retention, more competitive recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, happier employees who have additional cash flow to put towards their life goals," Rosenberg explains. Rosenberg says happier employees are more engaged employees, who tend to be more productive. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement experience lower turnover and have double the rate of organizational success than their less-engaged counterparts. Student loan benefit programs may also lead to a more diverse workforce, attracting employees whose financial backgrounds meant they had to take on more debt for their education. "Diversity and inclusion are also very important to us, so the ability to offer this benefit can help minorities who come out of school with a higher debt burden," says McClements. A Promising Response Companies say the response to their student loan assistance programs have been overwhelmingly positive. Chegg has had more than 80 people sign up since they started their program this summer, and they've already eliminated roughly 86 years of collective loan repayments for their employees. Companies are also finding these programs are a way to differentiate themselves from organizations that may offer more generic benefits. "As a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest in the industry, and this benefit is a big draw," says Gennaro. Photo: Shutterstock