Canada is turning 150 in 2017. Looking back to Canada’s centennial year, 50 years ago, one can only marvel at how much has changed since 1967. There was no digital technology. No email; no internet; no cellphones. There was no truly globalized economy. White-collar offices operated on a “9 to 5” schedule, and tended to be relatively stable, homogenous, and hierarchical. Blue-collar workers still dominated the workforce with factories and manufacturing plants often operating three shifts each day. Career progression was more defined, commonly taking place within a single organization.
The drivers and realities that shape the workplace of today would be unrecognizable to someone magically teleported here from our centennial year. As business models have changed and technology has begun to dominate, the nature of the workforce itself has altered. A “non-traditional” workforce now plays an important role in influencing the way in which employers manage talent.
Increasingly, employment relationships are contingent in nature as fewer people work in full-time employment and companies take on more temporary or freelance workers to assist with specific projects or business needs. Typically, the modern organization has a blended workforce, in which temporary employees work alongside salaried employees.
Moreover, millennials are a significant component of the workforce and are increasingly moving into management roles. Yet organizations still may not be speaking their language. And “Generation Z” employees are now starting to enter the workforce. When it comes to providing attractive learning opportunities and creating paths for these employees to develop as future leaders, organizations have to be on top of the factors which drive and inspire them to move forward, while still tending to the desires and ambitions of previous generations.
The evidence suggests that there is a demonstrable need for organizations to redesign their talent management systems to respond to these fundamental changes in the composition of the workforce. Deloitte’s 2016 report on human capital trends, based on responses from 196 Canadian business and human resources leaders, highlights some of the major areas which will continue to require attention in 2017 and beyond.
Considering the unique and changing nature of business and the workforce, employee engagement is and will remain more challenging than it has ever been. However, Deloitte’s report found that although employee engagement is top of mind for Canadian companies, there is an interesting disconnect. While 54% of executive respondents felt that their organization was equipped to deal with engagement issues, a mere 36% of non-executive respondents agreed. Only 54% of respondents felt that their organization was able to provide programs that reflect the needs of a multi-generational workforce.
As the Deloitte report states, organizational culture is critical to “shaping and driving behaviour, innovation, and customer service”. However, one again sees significant differences in how Canadian leaders and employees view key business issues, with 63% of executives saying they are ready to address their organization’s cultural challenges, but only 47% of all non-executives agreeing. Among mid-level respondents, 34% felt that their organizations did a poor job of aligning personal goals with corporate purpose, compared to 12% of C-Suite respondents. Although only 15% of C-Suite respondents agreed that their organization’s ability to drive the desired culture was weak, 43% of mid-level employees and 67% of other employees agreed.
According to the Deloitte report, Canadian respondents see their organization’s ability to develop leaders declining, with 44% of respondents in 2015 and only 40% in 2016 feeling that their company was prepared to tackle the leadership challenges they faced. Regarding whether their organizations provide “adequate” or “excellent” experiential, role-based leadership programs, 59% of C-Suite, 40% of mid-level, and 22% of other employees agreed. Interestingly, 77% of respondents at all levels agreed that their organization’s capacity to deliver focused leadership programs for millennials was weak.
The Deloitte report notes that: “Many efforts to build a new generation of leaders, including experiments with ‘flavour of the year’ leadership programs, have been unsuccessful, often because they are short-term, quick-fix approaches that don’t reflect the needs of leaders in an open, global economy.”
Organizational design is critical to a company’s ability to adapt when faced with varied business challenges, expected or unexpected. But only 48% of Canadian respondents feel their organization is capable of addressing the challenges of organizational design or structure. The Deloitte report suggests that the slow progress in this area may be partly explained by the disconnect between leaders and employees regarding reorganization. As an example, 70% of C-suite respondents believe they successfully assign appropriate decision rights across their organization, compared to 49% of mid-level respondents. Executives are also more sure than non-executives about their ability to form successful functional teams for projects and programs.
It makes sense then that Mercer’s 2016 talent trends study found that 82% of organizations recognized the need to overhaul their talent management programs and policies. Is your organization one of them? If so, Verity offers talent management solutions that respond to today’s needs at the individual, team and organizational level.
The Verity approach supports individuals in elevating their performance and developing skills and leadership potential. It strengthens teams, helping to make them more effective and improving their alignment with organizational goals. And it helps organizations to discover their unique talent management needs and build a blueprint for transformation and success. Avoiding “quick fixes”, Verity looks to implement tailored and lasting solutions which meet business needs and accelerate talent development.