When 85% of organisations surveyed around the world say their talent management programmes need an overhaul, HR is expected to find ways to navigate the current economic storm.

Mercer’s 2016 global study on talent trends, surveyed more than 1,730 HR leaders and 4,500 employees across 15 countries, to identify a five-fold agenda for HR professionals this year.

Mercer country wise priorities


#1 Build diverse talent pools

Over 80% of employees in China feel that their organisations are not doing enough to keep their skills relevant. This is noteworthy given Singapore’s focus on lifelong learning, where study showed only 9.5% of students from Institutes of Higher Learning feel they are equipped with skills for their workplace.

The number one skill in demand in China? “Global mindset” – which ranks number one in Japan as well.

On the other end of the spectrum are South Africa, Mexico, Australia and the U.S. — where having a global mindset is viewed as less critical to business success

#2 Embrace the new work equation

In a tighter economic climate, reward segmentation is becoming a common practice, with four in five companies in China already differentiating compensation for key segments such as high potentials.

According to both employers and employees, organisations in India were found to be more when it came to rewards, than those in other countries.

Close to nine in every 10 companies in Asia are using non-cash incentives to motivate employees — adding they use a ‘total rewards’ approach to formal recognition programmes.

At the same time, there is reason for HR leaders to pay more attention to rewards strategies, as rising living costs worry 85% of Singapore’s employees.

Apart from tangible benefits, flexible work schedules are not only least prevalent in Asia, but they are also the least desired by employees – where only 38% say this would improve their work situation, compared to 46% globally.

Mercer inforgraphic on building diversity


#3 Architect compelling careers

Getting restless about advancing their careers, employees in Singapore and India are most likely to say they don’t see long-term career potential in their current company, therefore are likely to leave within the next one year.

Clearly, this signifies career development being a priority for candidates, wherein having sufficient rungs to climb the career ladder, be it vertically or horizontally, is a top-three concern in Asia (listed by one-third of respondents).

#4 Simplify talent processes

Simplication of processes has often led to the conversation on simplifying performance management, with companies such as IBM overhauling their systems to remove frequently-cited inefficiencies.

In Mercer’s report, eliminating ratings is most prevalent in North America, where nearly 29% of companies plan to eliminate ratings in 2016 – and in Asia, where 22% of companies eliminated ratings in 2015.

Additionally, four out of five organisations in Asia intend to improve goal calibration this year.

In India specifically, organisations have expressed the maximum confidence in identifying critical roles and job families, and filling those critical roles internally.

#5 Redefine the value of HR

Companies in Asia are most likely to invest in HR upskilling in 2016, with 44% in the region and 53% in China having plans in place. Further, companies in Asia are just beginning to use workforce analytics.

Lead image: Shutterstock

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