Using Data to Leap Over the Talent Hurdles

It seems HR success when it comes to managing talent won’t be getting any easier in the years ahead.

According to Mercer’s most recent major report, 2018 Global Talent Trends Study–Unlocking Growth in the Human Age, 89 percent of polled executives expect an increase in the competition for talent. At the same time, employees are starting to get restless, with 39 percent of employees polled who are are “satisfied” in their jobs are still thinking about looking elsewhere because they see little or no career opportunities.

Despite those warnings, Mary Ann Sardone, a partner and North America workforce rewards practice leader at Mercer, says the good news is employers have the data to deploy several ways to sway retention, engagement and business performance.

“Organizations typically pore over compensation and benefits numbers, yet it is often the actions beyond direction compensation–such as promotions, career opportunities and aligning jobs to greater organization purpose–that have a greater impact on business outcomes,” she says.

Sardone explains that understanding the elements that make a company competitive–actual differentiators–is critical in creating an employee value proposition with impact. She offers three main talent strategies to help make it happen:

Broaden Rewards

Employees desire a total rewards package that “enables them to feel healthy, supported and energized, personally as well as professionally,” according to Sardone. Traditional rewards (pay and benefits) remain vital as the foundation for cutting through a crowded marketplace.  But employers that broaden their focus beyond basic pay and benefits will likely see a more engaged, productive workforce. “Employers offering clear, flexible career opportunities will gain a competitive edge,” she says. “Providing support for well-being platforms that boost physical, financial, emotional and social health also can pay dividends.”

Personalize It

When it’s personal, it’s more powerful, Sardone explains. Grouping attributes such as age, income, life stage, family status, career level and other preferences means employers can tailor offerings and leverage technology (from employee portals to digital career-pathing software) to make choices more personalized and, as a result, meaningful.

Focus on the Future

Employers want to know if what they are doing now will mesh with future workforces. Sardone says modernizing rewards programs and their delivery will work today, but also appeal to future workers as well.

“As companies re-imagine the future of work, they must bring an understanding of how the workforce is changing and be careful not to neglect the ‘human operating system’ that powers their organizations,” she says.

“It’s easy to lose sight of how people connect and collaborate–and as importantly, when they want to disconnect,” Sardone says. “By focusing on how teams co-create, what motivates different workforce segments and how they experience a sense of well-being and purpose through work will show they are serious about meeting employees’ needs.”


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Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at [email protected]