Study By Mercer Documents Education, Health/Wellness, And Career Experience Top Accelerators Of Company Performance

From Mercer’s new Talent Barometer Survey, 60% of companies worldwide report increasing their investment in talent acquisition in recent years. But, only 24% say their plans have been highly effective in meeting either “immediate” or “long-term” workforce requirements.

77% in the survey reported they have built a strategic workforce plan, but only 12% said they had plans that extended for five years or more.

1,260 HR and talent management executives from organizations worldwide participated in Mercer’s Talent Barometer Survey. The organizations surveyed varied in size from fewer than 1,000 employees to more than 10,000 and included not only a wide variety of industries, but also government and nonprofit organizations.

When tabulating and analyzing the survey, key accelerators of talent effectiveness were identified including education, health and wellness, and career experience.

57% of the organizations said that they are not confident that educational institutions will generate the level of talent their businesses need either today or five years from today.

The survey indicates that organizations that rate their workforce plan as effective are more likely to:

  • Partner with tertiary schools (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral programs) or have programs that target students at tertiary schools.
  • Engage in or offer apprenticeships.
  • Engage in or offer internship programs.
  • Offer job fairs/portals.
  • Participate in university advisory councils and in shaping academic curricula.

Mercer’s survey found that less than half of the organizations follow the basic elements of a health management program, such as supporting a healthy workplace and establishing health-related policies and procedures. Only 31% reported using a formal, written multiyear strategic plan for health and wellness.

Companies typically move through different stages of development as they create best-practice wellness and health management programs. 48% indicated they are offering limited/ad hoc measures such as basic education and risk screening. 36% offer targeted interventions for high-risk individuals and provide programs that include awareness, health assessments and disease management. 16% do not provide any support for employee health beyond coverage for treatment in accordance with local legal requirements and market practice.

The analysis revealed that organizations that rate their workforce plan as effective are more likely to:

  • Measure individual health status improvement.
  • Share data across health programs to understand the population’s health profile.
  • Promote a healthy and safe workplace.
  • Use high-impact communication (campaigns, themes, and messages) to motivate change.
  • Use team activities and social media to get employees to change.

80% of the global organizations surveyed by Mercer conduct regular performance reviews.  Fewer have programs to enhance talent availability and quality, such as assessing supply and demand of critical talent, putting a strategic succession plan in place and developing programs for high-potential employees. Recruiting talent from outside their firms is more common than enhancing training of internal talent.

Mercer’s analysis found that organizations that rate their workforce plan as effective are more likely to:

  • Assess their supply of and demand for critical talent.
  • Have access to reliable information on labor-pool availability outside their home market.
  • Have succession plans that include external candidates.
  • Have leaders who conduct regular (annual or semiannual) talent reviews.
  • Offer fast-track career development programs for high-potential workers.

According to the report “organizations with effective workforce plans appear to make HR activities more of a priority, creating specific HR positions to support the talent fulfillment task. These organizations typically have senior leaders who foster a culture of talent development, continually assessing talent, and managing the succession pipeline, as well as continually and consistently communicating people strategy and talent investments to key stakeholders.”

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