Employees’ Digital Experience, and Human Resources' (HR) Transformation Input: What Talent Trends Means for Canada 

Working together. Group of young modern people in smart casual wear discussing business and smiling while sitting in the creative office
Working together. Group of young modern people in smart casual wear discussing business and smiling while sitting in the creative office

It’s no secret that employment is at record levels in Canada. So much so, in fact, that the C-suite’s top workforce concern this year is a shortage of skills, according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study data. Yet despite low joblessness, employees are still despondent. Canada’s workers are experiencing a “psychological recession”, according to one study. The report hypothesizes that economic anxiety and changes in the world of work are driving the public’s uncertain mood.

Disruption is certainly front of mind. Over three-quarters (77%) of executives in Canada predict significant disruption in the next three years – and this is higher than that anticipated in the US and globally (65% and 73%, respectively). So, what other results from Talent Trends stood out for Canada?

Digital employee experience – a digital laggard?

With digital disruption a present and growing challenge, transformation is imperative for Canada’s organizations. So, how do companies fare on this score? The self-reported outlook is grim; only 2% of companies describe themselves as a digital organization, compared to 13% globally.

Still, Canada’s companies seem to be doing better than average on being digital on the inside. Thirty-eight percent of companies in Canada say they are close to providing employees with a fully digital experience – compared to only 13% globally. But with only 66% of HR teams saying they are investing in technology to improve the digital employee experience (versus 88% globally and 83% in the US), this indicates progress may have stalled and simplifying and enhancing what people experience at work requires greater efforts.

In the new world of work, content curation — unifying all communications through all platforms — is an emerging role for many in the HR function.

Knowledge management is the #1 area of technology investment being pursued to enhance the digital employee experience in Canada. Other technology investments in focus this year include self-service employee portals and onboarding online portals.

There is a stark difference between thriving and non-thriving individuals’ experience at work.

Thriving employees in Canada are 12 times more likely to work for company that ensures equity in pay and promotion decisions. This is a huge difference compared to the global average, where the difference between thriving and non-thriving individuals is a multiple of four. When asked what would help them thrive at work, Canadians said being recognized for their contributions and the ability to maintain work/life balance would help the most.
In addition, thriving employees in Canada work for a company that is:
  • 8x more likely to offer opportunities to develop their skills
  • 4x more focused on their health & well-being
  • 12x more likely to help them achieve their financial goals

Room for improvement: HR getting its thinking cap on.

To ensure the human agenda remains at the heart of change, HR needs a permanent seat at the drafting table of transformation. HR leaders everywhere suffer from being a late-to-the-party guest, but particularly in Canada. Just 32% of Canadian HR leaders get involved in the idea generation of major change projects, compared to 41% globally.

Business transformation will not be a success without its people, and thus HR, driving change from the outset. Our study reveals HR leaders in Canada are concerned about the digital disruption coming their way and how to fund transformation, yet with better alignment between HR and the C-suite, organizations will be able to deliver on the new demands of the Future of Work.

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