Regional HR focus shifts to evolving employee needs

ASIA-PACIFIC: HR executives in the region are zooming in on talent attraction and retention as their top priorities for the post-pandemic period, with seven in 10 of them facing a labour crunch.

Despite 85% of employees in Asia expressing satisfaction in their current roles, almost two in five are considering resigning in the next six to 12 months. This means that businesses should catch up on meeting the changing employee expectations of work and the workplace.

Employees are more likely to stick with their employers where they can offer flexibility and time off, as well as distinct career progression and development. Seven in 10 respondents to Mercer's 2022 Global Talent Trends Study said that not being able to work remotely or hybrid permanently was not a good term when considering joining a company.

Additionally, one in two employees believed that the future of work would be about balance.

However, executives in Asia are concerned about the impact of a permanent hybrid and remote working, especially on building and maintaining at-work relationships (89%). Seven in 10 also still think that a job is completed fundamentally in an office, not remotely. With 48% of the organisations in Asia struggling with levelling up and sustaining hybrid work, a significant effort is needed in evolving to a culture of flexible work.

The Rise of the Relatable Organization report, which drew insights from almost 11,000 C-suite executives, HR leaders, and employees worldwide, highlights how winning organisations prioritise reskilling and wellbeing while co-creating work with employees.

Puneet Swani, Career Business Leader for Asia, Middle East, and Africa at Mercer, said employers need to bridge the gap in expectations and embrace new, flexible work models to cultivate a workforce that can "design" careers. "Those who find that balance and align their policies to the wants and needs of their employees will not only boost the motivation and engagement of their existing workers but also will win the best talent,” he noted.

On upskilling, nearly all (95%) employees in Asia reported having learned a new skill over the course of the pandemic, yet a staggering 97% of companies are still reporting significant skill gaps in their organisations.

HR leaders noted that they had challenges keeping up with the pace of change and emerging skill needs, as well as identifying employees with the most potential to effectively leverage new skills. There are also concernsthat upskilled talent will leave the firm.

“Despite an uptick in experimentation during the pandemic to close the skills gap, companies in Asia and their employees are still very much in the learning phase," Swami added. "Employers need to figure out how they can offer more opportunities for employees to pick up new skills and make rewarding skill acquisition more visible throughout the organisation.”

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