One way involves having a comprehensive strategy for bridging skills gaps by employing new talent, bringing on contingent labour and implementing re-skilling initiatives, a global survey highlighted.

While more than half of executives surveyed globally say their businesses will adopt a hybrid working model post pandemic, one in four still believe their leaders lack the skills to manage the workforce they want to build, a new survey by KellyOCG has highlighted.

In fact, according to the survey, which involved more than 1,000 senior executives across 13 countries, business leaders are acknowledging the changes brought about by the pandemic - such as a shift in how, when and where to work, and employees living their jobs. Yet, it noted, many admit they are unprepared for how to manage talent, use technology, and support their employees in this new environment.

The survey revealed the following:

  • Less than half of executives (49%) say they have a clear view of the optimal mix of talent required across all business areas, and 27% are unsure of what their employees want in terms of a post-COVID work environment.
  • Only a smaller number of organisations are using leading-edge technologies to respond to critical issues around workforce planning and management, including monitoring productivity and efficiency (44%), managing a remote workforce (38%), and predicting skills requirements (32%).
  • The majority (55%) report that talent from underrepresented groups has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – but fewer than half (43%) say they are executing a fully developed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy for their full-time staff, and only 19% have one for contingent labour.

In contrast, the study identified a group of leading organisations ('vanguards') who report employee wellbeing and productivity have significantly improved within their organisations during the pandemic, alongside improved revenue growth over the past three years. These leaders, which made up approximately 10% of respondents, are taking a strategic, long-term approach to improve the resilience, agility and wellbeing of their workforces, it highlighted.

Specifically, the data uncovered four key dynamics of these organisations' response to the pandemic:

  • They amplify workforce fluidity. These leaders are more likely to have a comprehensive strategy for bridging skills gaps by employing new talent, bringing on contingent labour (62%) and implementing re-skilling initiatives (52%). 
  • They are building a better employee experience. Nine in 10 (91%) say improving the employee experience is as high a business priority as improving the customer experience.
  • They are improving DEI. While many still only pay lip service to DEI programmes, these leaders are around twice as likely as 'laggards' (those who see a decline in employee wellbeing and productivity) to have fully developed DEI strategies in place for both permanent and contingent talent (67% vs 35%).
  • They understand that adopting leading-edge technologies is critical to managing a workforce in flux. Many have already begun implementing new technologies to alleviate workload pressure and enhance efficiency (64% vs. 48% of laggards), and nearly half are using technology to gain visibility of workforce utilisation and to improve the recruiting process.

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