Global

Details

  • Service: Advisory, Management Consulting
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 9/27/2012

Three urgent challenges 

The data from Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World, highlight three urgent challenges for HR functions:

  1. Balancing the global and the local

It isn't a surprise that globalization is affecting today's workforce. According to the study:


  • Seventy-one percent of respondents believe that working across borders has increased in the past 3 years.
  • Over half indicate that international reporting lines and talent flows have also become more common.
  • Survey respondents believe that expanding workforces in new markets has been the second-biggest concern for HR departments (after talent retention) and they expect it to remain so.
  • Only one-quarter of respondents say that their HR departments excel at sourcing key talent globally and 24 percent say the same of their ability to support the company's globalization strategies.

How has your company's workforce changed geographically over the past 3 years?

Much more common Much more common now

Somewhat more common now Somewhat more common now

Much + somewhat more common Much + somewhat more common

No change No change

Somewhat less common now Somewhat less common now

Much less common now Much less common now

Much + somewhat less common Much + somewhat less common

 

Much more common Somewhat more common now Much + somewhat more common No change Somewhat less common now Much less common now Much + somewhat less common
Working across borders (eg, teams in different geographies collaborating) 29% 42% 71% 19% 4% 2% 6%
Creating HR policies to address the global nature of the workforce 22% 36% 59% 32% 2% 2% 4%
Transferring key talent between cross-border operations 18% 39% 57% 30% 6% 2% 8%
Sourcing key talent outside our home market 18% 37% 55% 34% 4% 3% 6%
Cross-border reporting lines 20% 35% 54% 35% 3% 2% 5%
Adding new cross-border offices 18% 34% 52% 34% 5% 2% 6%

We believe: One of the ways in which HR executives can better manage a globalizing workforce is to devote more attention to coaching, training and staff development and by changing remuneration and incentive schemes. But in doing so, companies need to work out how globally consistent or locally customized these strategies should be.

  1. Managing a flexible and virtual workforce

Survey respondents are embracing the concept of a wider range of flexible work arrangements, which can reduce labor costs and allow greater access to talent. For instance:


  • Sixty percent of businesses have increased their use of virtual workspaces, while 48 percent reduced their reliance on physical office premises, shifting to hot-desking.
  • Fifty-five percent have hired more contractual or temporary workers in the last 3 years; 41 percent are even using former employees as contractors.

These trends are set to continue, since 72 percent of respondents maintain that their companies should increase the use of both virtual and flexible workers. But only 24 percent believe their HR department excels at supporting a wide range of flexible work arrangements.

How has your company's workforce evolved in these areas over the past 3 years?

Much more common Much more common now

Somewhat more common now Somewhat more common now

Much + somewhat more common Much + somewhat more common

No change No change

Somewhat less common now Somewhat less common now

Much less common now Much less common now

Much + somewhat less common Much + somewhat less common

 

Much more common Somewhat more common now Much + somewhat more common No change Somewhat less common now Much less common now Much + somewhat less common
Using videoconference or telepresence technologies in lieu of meeting face-to-face 33% 40% 73% 21% 3% 1% 4%
Using virtual workspaces to collaborate 23% 37% 60% 31% 3% 2% 5%
Flex-time arrangements (ie, telecommuting) 17% 38% 56% 33% 7% 2% 9%
Hiring workers on a contractual or temporary basis 17% 38% 55% 33% 7% 4% 11%
Reducing reliance on physical office premises (eg, shift to hot-desking) 15% 33% 48% 40% 5% 3% 8%
Outsourcing core business activities to external vendors 16% 31% 47% 37% 8% 4% 12%
Hiring former employees as contractors 15% 36% 41% 40% 8% 4% 12%

We believe: Even the most fundamental aspects of people management need to be rethought with an ever-sharper focus on goal setting, performance management and communications.

  1. Retaining the best talent

Retaining talent remains HR's biggest concern: 34 percent cite retaining crucial skills as HR's leading focus in the last 3 years and 40 percent say it will remain so over the next 3.

Which of these activities has your company's HR function focused on most in the past 3 years? Which will it focus on most over the coming 3 years?

HR Fucntion Focus


With alarmingly high jobless rates in many countries, it seems paradoxical that talent retention would be challenging. But the reasons are clear, since workforces are increasingly uncommitted. For example:


  • An online poll conducted by workforce consultancy Right Management in October/November 2011 found that as many as 84 percent of employees in North America plan to look for a new job at some point in 2012 - up from 60 percent in a corresponding survey in 2010.
  • Among Economist Intelligence Unit survey respondents, only 26 percent say that their company excels at retaining the key talent it requires.

We believe: The key to improving these figures is employee engagement—increasing the commitment of the workforce to the organization.


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