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The business issues shaping HR strategy in 2012 – Mercer

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The business issues shaping HR strategy in 2012 – Mercer


Australia , Melbourne


 

The uncertain economic outlook and challenges associated with an economy split between high and low growth sectors will force Australian companies to play a careful balancing act when it comes to planning their human capital resources and strategies for the year ahead, according to Mercer.

 

Mercer’s Human Capital business has identified the top five business issues affecting talent management and human capital strategy for 2012:

 

1. Explore new talent opportunities within slow growth sectors, helping to combat skill shortages

2. Voluntary turnover on the rise again?

3. Avoid the two-strikes; engage shareholders early on executive remuneration

4. Plug the leaky pipeline: make 2012 a year for action on retaining women

5. Address the needs of the fastest-growing employee segment – older workers.

 

Rob Bebbington, head of Mercer’s Human Capital business in Australia and New Zealand said with increased economic uncertainty, the human capital environment is becoming increasingly complex.

 

“Companies need to strike the right balance between building the workforce they need to grow, while carefully planning for the risks ahead.

 

“2012 will be about being agile: HR needs to have strategies and timely solutions that align with the business strategies to respond to a range of scenarios. But there are also plenty of opportunities that businesses can tap into to enhance the skills and talent within their business” said Mr Bebbington.

 

1. Explore talent opportunities within slow growth sectors, helping to combat skill shortages

 

Companies in the high growth resources and mining sector are still intending to hire, but are finding it hard to come by the skills and talent they need; whereas the retail and manufacturing sectors are being squeezed by weak consumer confidence and are losing valuable staff as they manage amidst ongoing economic uncertainty. Employers within high growth sectors or industries need to review their hiring strategy and consider potential employees who have skills that can be transferred and developed with training. This will help to alleviate pressure felt in other sectors and expose companies to a potential new talent pool.

 

2. Voluntary turnover on the rise again?

 

Research from Mercer’s What’s Working survey from early 2011 demonstrates that four in 10 Australian workers are seriously considering leaving their employer. This signals a challenge for employers; if the economy shows signs of strong performance next year they should expect to see employees start to review their career options and look at external opportunities. If the future still looks wobbly, employers should avoid making any knee-jerk reactions or risk losing people who will be integral to growth in the medium term. This uncertainty is a timely reminder that companies should have effective workforce planning in place with strategies to attract, retain and develop key employee segments and top performers.

 

3. Avoid the two-strikes; engage shareholders early on executive remuneration

 

One of the biggest changes affecting executive remuneration in 2011 was the introduction of the two strikes rule, which effectively grants shareholders the power to force a vote for Directors to stand for re-election. The 2012 AGM season will mark the second time shareholders have had this vote. Companies should be planning now to reduce the likelihood of a two strikes vote by reviewing their remuneration strategy to ensure it aligns with the market and the internal business and talent strategy, whilst ensuring shareholders are engaged throughout the process.

 

4. Plug the leaky pipeline: make 2012 a year for action on retaining women

 

Women in leadership was a much talked about topic in 2011, yet despite the talk only 1 in 4 (26%) Australian and New Zealand companies have a clearly defined strategy to attract and retain women long enough to reach senior leadership positions. 2012 is an opportune time for companies to take decisive action and gain a first mover advantage on providing programs that better support talented women in the organisation.

 

5. Address the needs of the fastest-growing employee segment – older workers

 

More than 1 in 5 workers will be aged 55 or over by 2012 and the biggest increase in labour force will be amongst older females (60+). However, research from Mercer’s 2011 What’s Working survey has found older workers are feeling left out of career development opportunities, with only 40% of 55-64 year olds feeling they have sufficient opportunities for growth and development. HR directors/leaders need to look at where their older employees are best placed within the organisation – and where their skills and experience can be shared and optimised to prepare the next generation of leaders/managers.

 

 

Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues, designing and helping manage health, retirement and other benefits. It is a leader in benefit outsourcing. Mercer’s investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer’s 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York and Chicago stock exchanges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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