Mercer study outlines people strategies for the digital age

Disruptive demographic, technological and geopolitical trends demand organisations embrace new approaches to workplace environments if they are to thrive, suggests a new report.

Crowd of people networking against cyber background
Management consultant Mercer’s study, Thriving in an Age of Disruption, concludes that as advances in technology, like AI and robotics, disrupt industries and redefine value chains, organisations need to distinguish themselves, particularly around personal fulfillment, company values and leadership, in order to prevail.Yet only half (52%) of organisations worldwide have committed to help employees thrive at work. It anticipates the findings from its new report will help remedy this and offers a blueprint for how to build a thriving organisation.

Designing thriving workplaces

“As digitisation and disruption shape the next decade of work, companies that develop people strategies around these areas now will lead the way later,” explained Kate Bravery, Global Practices Leader for Mercer’s Career business.“Thriving organisations do not happen by chance – they are deliberately designed and intentionally built. Most importantly, they create an atmosphere that enriches the lives of their workforce by meeting their needs and empowering them to contribute.“Although this research shows that key indicators of a thriving workforce are also drivers of employee confidence, many of today’s people practices fall short in inspiring the very people at whom they are aimed. These findings suggest a new mandate for designing the future of work,” said Ms Bravery.

Growth and development matters most to employees

Successful organisations of the future will be those that can transform work into a compelling experience that meets all employees’ needs, unlocks potential and enables people to successfully transition into the future workforce, Mercer suggests.Its headline results show that growth and development are matter most to people at work today, followed closely by fair access to opportunities and equity in pay.Notably, Mercer’s research finds that employees “who are energised and bring their authentic selves to work are 45% more invested in their role.”The research shows that 79% of employee confidence in the company they work for can be explained by:
  • a trusting work environment
  • a feeling of personal accomplishment
  • faith in senior leadership
  • clarity around career paths
  • a strategy that is responsive to external market shifts and societal needs.

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An inclusive and trusting environment leads to commitment

The Mercer Thriving in an Age of Disruption report suggests four critical priorities can help companies accelerate their performance and enable them to step successfully into the future of work:
  1. Craft a future-focused people strategy: Organisations need to approach their people strategy with as much dedication as they do with their innovation and digital strategies. Thriving organisations treat their workforce as an asset in which to invest – not simply a business cost.
  2. Curate a compelling employee value proposition: People want jobs that work for them. They want tools to manage work and life in a way that is personalised, flexible and unique to their own interests and aspirations.
  3. Create a thriving work environment: Individuals thrive when work is challenging and purposeful, when they feel empowered to make decisions and when they are connected to colleagues and experts.
  4. Cultivate a lab mindset: To stay ahead in changing times, cultivate a mindset that encourages experimentation, design thinking, balanced risk taking and a climate of continuous learning.
According to Mercer’s research, organisations with agile and purpose-driven cultures are more likely to have annual revenue growth and employees who are energised by their job are more likely to stay and contribute to the company.“With the lingering uncertainty around Brexit, emerging skills shortages and impact of four generations in the workforce, UK businesses need to support and empower their existing employees or face losing them to competitors,” said Julia Howes, workforce analytics specialist at Mercer.“UK businesses are slowly understanding the urgency of these workforce challenges. Those that are acting now will succeed in growing and retaining their top talent, ensuring they have the skills needed for future success, and building a workforce energised to deliver exceptional performance.”
Relocate Magazine Winter 2017 front cover
Read more about the future of the UK business in the Winter issue of our magazine
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