War for talent set to escalate

The
war for talent will escalate as confidence in the economic and business climate
continues to improve, but many companies will not be well-positioned to compete
in the new environment, according to a new report.

The
fourth annual High Performance Workforce Study, released today by Accenture, is
based on interviews with 244 senior executives in the US, Europe and Australia.
Its goal was to identify trends and other factors that are currently affecting
the performance of workforces and businesses.

More
than one-third (41 per cent) of respondents said the war for talent will have
an impact on their companies in the next 12 months, compared with less than
one-quarter (23 per cent) who said the war for talent is currently affecting
their organisations.

Despite
this, most respondents said their organisations do not have the skills and
capabilities that they view as critical to addressing marketplace challenges.

The
research found that shortcomings in HR and training practices of the
respondents’ organisations account for the lack of solid workforce performance.

The
three most important HR initiatives that respondents identified were improving
worker productivity (69 per cent), improving the adaptability of the business
to new opportunities (68 per cent) and facilitating organisational change (66
per cent).

However,
only 12 per cent said they were very satisfied with their progress on any of
these initiatives, and just 18 per cent said they were very satisfied with the
overall performance of their HR function.

“The
recent focus on cost-cutting has led many companies to lose marketplace
momentum,"  said Peter Cheese,
managing partner of Accenture’s Human Performance service line.

"Now,
as they ramp up investment in growth-oriented activities to achieve higher
levels of performance, they need to regain their competitive edge in terms of
recruiting, retaining and developing high-calibre employees.

“The
way forward involves a more strategic approach in human resources," he
said. "Organisations should understand how to effectively engage
employees, focusing on learning and performance management, and aligning both
to business strategy.”

By Quentin Reade

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