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Talent Trends sees emphases on business agility and wellness programmes

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

During a time when businesses had to make tough decisions swiftly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, talent agility remains a major hurdle to future-proof against further disruption. According to the 2021 Talent Trends Report released by Randstad Sourceright, 77 percent believe their businesses need to be more agile than ever, as they continue to recover and protect themselves from possible, future restrictions.

Based on a survey of 850 C-suite and human resource leaders in 17 markets across the world, the 2021 Talent Trends Report provides global insights into the top 10 talent trends that will dominate 2021, especially as businesses begin to outline recovery plans in response to the pandemic.

Closer to home, New Zealand businesses have recognised the need to dial up workplace agility with many businesses mobilising and redeploying talent to fill skills gaps and importantly, keep their employees active within the workforce. These approaches have had a positive impact on the New Zealand workforce, creating a wave of positive opportunities, particularly in technology, digital and data industries which have helped drive workforce growth. The positive impact was seen in the latest NZ unemployment figures, which is now at 4.9 percent, down from 5.3 percent.

"We are seeing businesses become more forward focused in how they build skill sets and collaborate across industries or within their own organisations to mobilise talent," said Katherine Swan, Randstad NZ Country Director. "I think there is a significant opportunity, though, to continue to accelerate that kind of thinking and action to suit the needs of the organisation while ensuring the person has stable employment."

The 2021 Talent Trends survey found 40 percent of HR leaders continue to experience talent scarcity in IT, while 28 percent say they can’t find enough qualified candidates for HR roles - and nearly one in five need more finance and accounting specialists. "2020 was certainly a tumultuous year, resulting in a global economic decline that led to millions of individuals losing their jobs. Yet despite this large talent pool of available workers, employers continue to face a growing skills gap - especially for digital skills - that has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said Mike Smith, global CEO of Randstad Sourceright. "Employers will need to focus their attention on building a more robust talent pipeline and implementing reskilling programmes to gain a competitive edge as they recover from the pandemic." To successfully build reskilling programmes and maximise their talent pipeline, Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends research found that many businesses are turning to talent analytics to better understand what is being spent on talent, how these resources are utilised and the availability of specific skills within their own organisation. Nearly 1 in 5 human capital leaders say they have started investing in talent analytics due to the pandemic, and 90 percent say they will continue to budget for talent analytics platforms even after the pandemic ends. "Talent analytics have always been of the utmost importance to talent leaders and will now play an even more integral role in companies’ recovery efforts," said Smith. "As the global economy recovers and hiring increases to meet business demand, human capital leaders will play an essential role in providing their organisations with the in-depth data needed to build a robust talent acquisition strategy and help them compete for the best talent in an uncertain labour market."

The survey found 71 percent of working-age adults felt they are emotionally supported by their employer, and it also highlighted that 62 percent of respondents felt wellness programmes in the workplace are extremely or very important to attracting new talent.

"Wellness is important within a workplace, and what we have seen in the last 12 months is a conversation that is now at the forefront of the mind of organisations and managers," said Swan.

Southern Cross Health Society (SCHS) is a Randstad New Zealand customer which recognises that to have a flourishing business, you first need to ensure a flourishing workforce. During the height of the pandemic, the organisation’s employee wellbeing programme ‘Switch2Well’ became an even more critical tool when supporting the health and wellbeing of its people.

"We have more than 90 percent of our people actively participating in Switch2well where we offer a range of options that encompass mind health, physical and financial wellbeing and community support activities. When we first went into lockdown, we moved quickly to deliver a range of new initiatives that would help to meet the needs of our people during what was an extremely challenging time," said Fleur Elliot, Southern Cross Health Society Acting Head of People and Culture.

SCHS created additional internal resources for its employees and their whānau so they could access wellbeing advice. They also offered mindfulness and meditation sessions and twice-weekly online yoga classes, which were then extended to the end of 2020.

"During the first lockdown we ran short, sharp pulse checks each week that were purely focused on enablement to make sure our employees had everything they needed, felt supported and to make sure they were safe and doing okay.

"Employee participation was around 90 percent for these weekly surveys, and we received incredible feedback on the support we offered. There was a lot of engagement with the new initiatives, and the yoga and meditation sessions were really popular. We’re now using this information to further evolve our Switch2Well programme in 2021," added Elliot.

Another critical component of post-pandemic recovery cited by human capital leaders is the creation of increasingly flexible workforces. Sixty-nine percent of employers said their workforce was just as productive or more productive while working from home, and 64 percent of talent leaders said that offering flexible working arrangements will continue to be key to attracting top talent. A summary of findings from the 2021 Talent Trends Report is below:

2021 Talent Trends Report: Key Findings

Flexibility is key to talent attraction: In fact, 80 percent say their business will consider some sort of permanent work-from-home policy.

Productivity remains high: Nearly 70 percent of employers believe their workforce was just as productive or more productive working from home than prior to the pandemic. Employers should play a role in reskilling: A majority of human capital leaders (92 percent) say companies should be responsible for reskilling employees, but a majority also believe the government (68 percent) and universities (65 percent) have to do more.

Talent experience is more important now: Sixty-three percent of respondents believe the talent experience is now more important in a post-outbreak environment, and 75 percent of human capital leaders believe workers’ expectations of employers are continually increasing.

Shift to more contingent talent: In 2017, 29 percent of respondents reported they had shifted permanent roles to temporary ones, but that number fell each subsequent year to 21 percent in 2020. 2021 research shows expected conversions to temporary roles rose slightly to 22 percent.

To get more insight about this year’s top 10 talent trends, request a copy of Randstad Sourceright’s 2021 Talent Trends Report.

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