2021's top talent trends highlight importance of an agile workforce

HRD speaks to Randstad's NZ country director about employer priorities for the next 12 months

2021's top talent trends highlight importance of an agile workforce

Innovative and agile solutions to New Zealand’s talent needs will be crucial for businesses looking to thrive this year, according to a new survey of HR leaders.

The 2021 Talent Trends Report by Randstad Sourceright surveyed 850 C-suite and HR leaders across 17 global markets.

It highlighted a number of priorities for the next 12 months, including a focus on skills, rather than jobs to create value, the need to respond quickly to workforce needs, addressing the growing skills gap and continuing to elevate the importance of employee wellbeing.

HRD spoke to Randstad’s New Zealand country director, Katherine Swan, who said wellbeing is becoming increasingly more important for employees in NZ.

“In New Zealand in Q3 last year we did a survey and found 52% of employees said their employer had supported their wellbeing throughout the pandemic. The remainder of the respondents either didn’t know or said their employer hadn’t,” she said.

“Now globally in the Talent Trends survey we’re seeing an increase in that number to around 70% of people who feel well supported.

“As time goes on this is becoming more important to organisations but it’s also becoming more important to individuals around what wellness in the workplace looks like and how they’re being supported by their employer.”

Read more: 'Let's talk about culture': How to attract the best talent

Research has found that employees tend to work longer hours while WFH as they struggle to separate home and work

This year the risk of burnout will remain high, especially with recurring COVID-19 outbreaks and regions reverting to lockdown.

The uncertainty will no doubt takes its toll on employee mental health, making it business critical to have robust, well-developed support systems in place.

When it comes to flexibility, Swan said the pandemic has changed the dial on employee expectations.

Read more: How to win today's war for talent

According to the report, 80% of respondents said their business will consider some sort of permanent work-from-home policy.

“What we’ve seen in New Zealand is that for people who hadn’t had a WFH option before, after the lockdown period there’s been much more open or employee-driven conversations with managers around what flexibility looks like,” she said.

“The reality is work life balance has been a conversation on the table for a number of years now and we know WFH is one flexible work practice that supports people having more balance.

“Some of the perspectives people gained over the last 12 months with the challenges of juggling work and personal life people are around understanding that they can get the same outcomes, can still be engaged and performing well in their role but they don’t need to be in the office 9-5 every day.”

The pandemic has accelerated these flexible working trends and companies need to embrace the changes to stay ahead of the curve.

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