HR is overdue a ‘creative reinvention’

A new report has unveiled what CEOs believe HR should be focusing on and making changes to in the near future.

PwC’s latest report, People strategy for the digital age: A new take on talent, has highlighted the biggest concerns that CEOs around the globe have about talent management.

Are skills at a crisis point?

Researchers found that 73% of CEOs said availability of skills was a ‘serious concern’, naming it as a threat to their business – this was a 10% increase from the previous year’s findings.

Eight in ten CEOs said they were looking for a broader skillset that they have been in the past, with the report’s authors emphasising that companies now need ‘hybrid’ workers who understand their own sector as well as complex digital technology.

Over 70% were attempting to combat this issue by actively searching for talent in different geographies, industries or demographic segments.

When asked how concerned they were about the availability of skills, 74% of Aussie CEOs expressed concern, putting Australia’s level of concern on a par with the global average of 73%.

Forty-four per cent of CEOs said that their organisation will work with governments to develop a skilled and adaptable workforce over the next three years.

A new take on talent

“Workers with the most in-demand skills are creating a ‘gig economy’, where they’re in control of where and when they work,” the report’s authors said.

This was evident in the research’s results: a third of employers have greatly increased their use of contingent workers, part time employees, outsourcing and service agreements.

“Leaders must create a culture where innovation thrives, ideas spark into life and people – whoever and wherever they are – are bound together in a common cause,” the report said.

Over half of the survey’s respondents said that creating a skilled and adaptable workforce should be a top priority for their government – this was up 19% from last year.

Opportunities and risks

Although six in ten CEOs said that they saw more opportunities today than three years ago, 59% also said that they could see more threats.

“CEOs are forging ahead in a world that they find more volatile and unpredictable,” the report said. “The theme is one of change, led by disruptive innovation and the associated shift in customer preferences, which are driving fundamental changes to business.”

Competition was another issue on CEOs’ minds: 59% said that organisations will increasingly compete in new sectors other than their own over the next three years.

“There’s no way you can predict all the changes that will happen in 12 months from now or three years from now,” said Victor Kislyi, executive chairman and CEO of Cypriot company Wargaming Public. “Your organisation has to be ready to react to any change.”

Reinventing HR

In PwC’s 2014 CEO Survey, it was found that just 34% of CEOs felt that their HR function was equipped to cope with transformational change.

“While many improvements have been made, there’s a risk that too many HR functions are overwhelmed by the scale of changes needed to address a highly competitive market, a shifting talent model where employees and contract workers sit side by side, and a workforce that expects the same level of individuality that they receive as consumers,” the report said.

It was added that “the old systems and HR approaches no longer apply; a creative reinvention of the role of HR is long overdue.”

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