Survey finds strong connection between investment in talent and market growth

Organizations are meeting the demands of today's economy by taking a more sophisticated approach to their talent management programs. According to Ernst & Young's latest report, Managing today's global workforce, leading companies are aligning talent management with their overall business strategy and integrating it with their human resources initiatives to increase competition and drive revenue.

As the economy continues to improve, organizations are taking new directions when it comes to managing their talent. Strategic HR initiatives are focused on increasing employee engagement, building in flexibility to address the needs of today's diverse talent pool.

The Ernst & Young survey identified the top three talent management initiatives respondents plan to implement:

  • Building their internal talent pipeline to fill critical future needs (64 per cent)
  • Understanding and coordinating global talent resources to fill key positions (33 per cent)
  • Offering flexible work strategies such as job sharing, telecommuting, flex hours and phased-in retirement (31 per cent)

The survey data also reveal a common concern over future gaps in talent among both technical (28 per cent) and middle management (26 per cent) positions.

"Now, more than ever, Canadian organizations need to provide opportunities that appeal to the diversity of their employees. By understanding the needs and motivations of employees, organizations will be better able to retain the necessary skills and competencies to emerge stronger in the future," says Ronny Aoun, executive director with Ernst & Young's Human Capital practice in Canada.

The report is based on a survey of more than 340 CEOs, CFOs, COOs and vice presidents of Human Resources from Fortune 1000 companies around the world, including Canada. The survey examines successful global talent management programs, and the practices that differ across geographic regions, companies and industries.

According to the report, more than half (63 per cent) of respondents say they align their current talent management programs to their business strategy, and continue to proactively modify the programs to reflect changes in the direction of the company.

"Companies need to align business strategies with talent management programs that will engage and develop the right individuals, because having the right competencies, skills and experiences are the key to competitive differentiation and success as a market leader," says Aoun. "And as Canadian organizations continue to grow their operations across the globe, it's vital that a company's internationally mobile employees are also kept top-of-mind."

Unfortunately, only 32 per cent of respondents say all the components of their talent management programs are integrated on a global, enterprise-wide scale, while 24 per cent do not integrate their programs at all.

As companies incorporate international assignments into their overall business strategy, the issue of career management for those employees cannot be ignored. Results of the survey show that nearly two-thirds of responding companies (60 per cent) have internationally mobile employees. Yet among those organizations, over one-third have no talent management program in place for this unique employee population.

It is critical for companies to understand and meet the needs of these mobile employees, while maintaining a strong grasp of relevant labour laws, legislation, regulations and demographics unique to each jurisdiction where they conduct business. There should also be a system in place to capture the knowledge of these employees. Many respondents indicate that repatriation or post-repatriation of these employees is not a priority. As such, companies end up losing much of the value these people bring to the organization. This could result in disenfranchised employees who leave the organization and take their international experience with them.

Effectively managing talent requires real execution, from workforce analytics to succession planning. Forward-thinking companies have talent management programs that are aligned to the business strategies, integrated globally and customized to address the needs, issues and demographics of their workforce. If executed well, such programs will position these organizations for significant future growth.

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 144,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

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