Although human resource managers probably like to think that they have staff training and development down pat, new studies suggest that HR departments are still behind when it comes to keeping up with corporate changes.
Are managers prepared?
The 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report looked at data over a span of 15 years and included opinions from more than 2,500 corporate leaders across the globe. The respondents pinpointed areas of HR responsibility for which they felt under-prepared, or which they worried about keeping up with in coming years.
What were their primary concerns? According to HR Morning, the most frequently raised issue was leadership development. Only about 13 percent of the companies and individuals interviewed said they felt confident about the ability of their corporate leaders to adapt to a changing market. As new generations become more prominent consumers, businesses need to be able to serve not only their traditional, long-term user base, but also new, young clients, with different interests and priorities. They also have to learn how to maximize efficiency from an evolving, expanding pool of technological tools.
“As the world’s population grows, the global workforce is simultaneously getting younger, older, and more urbanized,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, as quoted by HR Morning. “Millennials are reshaping the talent markets with new expectations; new technologies are changing work in countless ways; and we are more frequently competing and racing with machines for knowledge work. The findings of our global survey reveal that a majority of global organizations are not prepared to deal with these trends that are reshaping the workforce.”
Another major concern for the surveyed leaders included retention and engagement, which 79 percent of respondents said was an anticipated issue. Why do businesses have a difficult time attracting talent and keeping it? According to the report, many employees—particularly those in younger generations—have different workplace expectations and priorities. Companies that fail to understand that and adapt to them appropriately could lose that talent entirely. For example, work-life balance is a factor that many corporate leaders said they see growing more important. Younger employees seek jobs that offer them more vacation time and flexibility with hours.
How can HR improve?
When asked how they thought their human resource departments could build, many corporate respondents said they thought that training needed to improve. More than one-third of the participants said they believe their current staff are “getting by” or “underperforming” instead of serving workers and the company in an efficient manner. Additionally, less than 8 percent of the leaders feel that their teams are prepared to meet current demands as well as ones that may arise in the future.
In order to improve, experts at Deloitte said that more, better employee training programs are needed for workers at every level. Although it may be a time-intensive task, human resource departments simply must sit down and review their efficiency—how well they understand their employees and how this aligns with company performance. At the baseline, new hires should undergo training that is optimized to set them up, not only for their current position, but for future endeavors within the company as well. Additional training should follow through with building these skills.
Management and leadership training are vital as well, experts said, as reported by HR Morning. Corporate leaders need to keep an open line of communication with employees, but also with the human resource staff responsible for designing the courses and programs that will serve the rest of the company. The more communication and collaboration occurs, the more likely a company will be able to adapt to the changing market— whatever challenges may arise.