Setting goals for the year ahead

Many use this quiet time at the end of the year to reflect upon the last year’s accomplishments and set strategies for the month ahead.

As you think about your work strategies for the new year—including how you approach leadership, development, and even what is most important to you as an employee—check out our Workforce 2020 research. You can see the reports, fact sheets, and infographics on the SuccessFactors landing page, as well as our series of webinars on-demand.

Showing loyalty and commitment during the holidays

Our research shows that executives value loyalty more than job performance in employees—but most are not doing what it takes to keep their employees happy in their jobs.

The holidays offer companies a host of opportunities to make their staff happy. From holiday parties to year-end gifts, management can show their employees how much they value them in various ways. As we have discussed frequently on the blog, the thing employees value most at the end of the year—more than any other job perk— is compensation and merit-based rewards.

Just as the holiday season is a good time for companies to make staff feel valued, employees can also use the time to affirm their loyalty and commitment to the company—perhaps by setting new learning and development goals for the year ahead.

Strategies for hiring seasonal workers

Last week, the US Labor Department’s jobs report showed that the economy added the most jobs in nearly three years in November. A large number of those newly employed are contingent workers—mostly in temporary, seasonal positions for the winter holidays.

Our research shows that companies are using these employees on a massive scale—83% say they are increasing their use of temporary, seasonal, and part-time workers. Use of seasonal employees, especially, introduces management and training challenges to companies looking to run the business efficiently during the busy season.

It is also important for companies to note that many of these employees are looking not just for seasonal work, but for a full-time job that extends beyond the holiday rush. Employers should think about offering better training and incentives to temporary workers—and seriously consider adding the best employees to the permanent staff. After all, they have already been trained and survived the busiest time of year.

How important is a holiday party?

A recent article on San Francisco Gate gets down to details about tech firms’ holiday spending—reporting that some companies spend over six figures on these seasonal events in the hopes of attracting talented, younger workers with elaborate menus, custom props, and novelty event spaces.

And while an over-the-top holiday party may not be in the cards for most firms, these events—even simple lunches in the conference room—do build camaraderie among co-workers and offer networking opportunities for those looking to get ahead. In the long run, throwing a lavish event is not as important to employees as the basics (like competitive compensation and merit-based bonuses), but might offer a good opportunity for executives and employees to get on the same page

Germany’s talent shortage

Yesterday we hosted a webinar around the Germany-specific findings for our Workforce 2020 research (you can check out Germany’s fact sheet here).

Our data shows that German executives are more concerned than their peers in other countries about shortages of skilled talent and are more likely to say difficulty recruiting employees with base-level skills is an issue. This problem extends past entry-level jobs and into leadership positions—42% of German executives say a lack of adequate leadership is a major impediment to meeting workforce goals, compared with 34% of global respondents.

On a more positive note, German companies are also slightly better prepared to meet workforce challenges. In fact, 43% of executives in Germany say they are making good or significant progress toward meeting workforce goals—well ahead of the global total (34%). And while their use of metrics and benchmarking also suggests more maturity than other countries, like the rest of the world, Germany still has far to go when it comes to workforce strategies.

Companies struggle to cultivate talent

As the war for talent heats up, companies will have to put more work into finding, recruiting, and retaining talent.

Our research shows that currently, most are not doing what it takes to keep their employees at the company—and in fact, most do not seem to expect them to stay for long. Executives are not filling roles from within the company, and most do not consider loyalty an important part of their talent strategy or plan for continuity in key roles.

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Executives may be underestimating employees’ willingness to follow a set career path within the organization: our survey shows that many employees are concerned about a lack of opportunities for advancement within their companies and are looking for more learning and development opportunities from their employers.

The first step for companies looking to cultivate leadership may be to better understand what employees’ career goals are. Setting up mentoring programs—formal or informal—as well as regular meetings to discuss development opportunities may help define a career path and show executives which employees are most suited for advancement within the business. In the long run, those companies who cultivate loyal, skilled talent from within will have a better shot at success in the war for talent.

Now you can listen to our webinar on What Matters Most at Work

Did you miss our webinar on What Matters Most at Work?

Now you can catch it on-demand–click here to hear Ed Cone, Technology Practice Lead at Oxford Economics, talk with IBM’s Sheila McGovern and SAP’s David Swanson about the benefits and incentives that are most important to employees today.

And of course, we’ll keep you posted on the next webinar in our series. You can register for The Learning Mandate, scheduled for January 14, on the SuccessFactors Workforce 2020 events page.