Employers contemplate social networking in 2008

by 22 Jan 2008

Companies will focus on upgrading and integrating their HR technology in 2008 in an effort to improve administration and better engage employees, according to Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Among likely trends are the increased adoption of advanced web solutions, such as wikis, blogs and social networking, and a focus on making HR technology easier for employees to use. With the rapid growth of consumer-oriented Web 2.0 applications, organisations are considering increasingly interactive strategies and technologies. While many corporations are using Web 2.0 elements such as blogs and wikis, organisations are just beginning to implement other elements of social networking. Companies are also exploring the best way to leverage their investments and improve employee service and satisfaction, while others are also using technology to manage the disparate data involved in talent management programs.

Despite warnings of disaster tied to the impending retirement of the first wave of baby boomers, smart companies can actually benefit from this change in the workforce if they plan carefully, according to a recent Conference Board study. It found that organisations can use strategic workforce planning to assess the impact of approaching retirements on their ability to execute business strategy, however, recruiting mature workers may not even be on the radar screen for some companies. Furthermore, through partnerships with other employers, government programs and nonprofits, companies can get more bang for their buck when forecasting, managing and recruiting mature workers. “Not all employers are red-hot to hire mature job candidates,” said Mary Young, senior research associate for The Conference Board. “If a company is pleased with the quality of the labour pool it recruits from, there may be no incentive to change their recruitment practices to attract mature talent.”

Candidate shortage driving recruitment innovation

The candidate shortage is creating significant business challenges for 81 per cent of the recruitment sector and has driven 85 per cent to change their talent search techniques, according to research from the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association (RCSA). It found that the lack of suitable candidates is the top concern for the industry, and has seen 91 per cent of agencies devoting more time and resources to finding candidates than they did a year ago. “On one hand, business is booming in the recruitment and on-hire sector as employers turn to professionals to fill their vacancies,” said Julie Mills, CEO of the RCSA. “On the other hand, finding suitable candidates is also difficult for recruiters, and they are devoting more time and resources to the task.” The research found that 88 per cent of recruiters are approaching passive candidates, 77 per cent use specialist or niche job boards, and ‘refer a friend’ incentives are used by 62 per cent. Social networking such as Facebook is somewhat behind, with 38 per cent getting onboard, while only 5 per cent have created a Second Life office.

UBS and AGSM offer career comeback program for women

A new partnership initiative between UBS and AGSM Executive Programs will help professional women returning to the workforce to refresh their business and technical skills and provide them with important networking opportunities. The UBS Career Comeback program, developed with AGSM Executive Programs, is a free two-day program designed for professional women re-entering the workforce after a significant break of anywhere between 18 months and seven years. Recent studies suggest that women, in particular, face a number of obstacles when returning to the workforce including a diminished personal network and increased family responsibilities. Through self-assessments, teamwork and individual mentoring, AGSM Executive Programs and UBS will help participants address these issues and develop an action plan for re-entering the workforce.

Demand to drive pay rises in 2008

Substantial pay rises are expected across the Asia-Pacific region in 2008, a survey of 1,200 professionals has found. While 63 per cent of Australians expect a pay rise of up to 10 per cent, the survey also found that one in five anticipate 15 per cent or more will be added to their pay packets – while significant these expectations fall slightly below the average for the whole region. The pressure on companies to attract and retain skilled workers in a candidate-tight market means bargaining power increasingly lies in the hands of employees, and they are increasingly using this to their advantage, according to Richard Parnell, Asia Pacific CEO of Robert Walters, which conducted the survey. “Workforce demand is driving pay rises across most industries, and when worker confidence is at a high, employers need to be ready to respond to these sorts of demands or risk loosing their top talent,” he said.