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.

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.

The role of HR

A recent article from HBR on HR’s seat at the table—or lack thereof—argues that HR has been underperforming for years. Our own research shows that HR too often lacks the information or insights to be truly strategic.

Lack of metrics

This lack of insight into workforce data may be part of the reason HR still is not a strategic arm of most companies. Our surveys show that only half (52%) of executives say workforce issues drive strategy at the board level, and nearly one-quarter say that workforce issues are an afterthought in business planning.

HR does not drive strategy

What can executive leadership and HR do to drive the company forward? According to Carol Anderson at HBR, it’s about taking a holistic approach to talent:

All of the sub-disciplines of HR—recruiting, employee relations, performance management, compensation and benefits, and learning & development—have to work together to figure out what customers (the employees and leaders of the organization) need, educate them on risk, and engage them in the right solutions. HR cannot afford to think in silos, offering ‘products and services’ that simply add work to the already overburdened front-line manager.

You can read the full article here.

What benefits increase employee loyalty and engagement?

Offering the right benefits and incentives is critical for companies looking to attract and retain the best employees.

Our Workforce 2020 surveys show that competitive compensation is the most important benefit for employees, followed closely by bonuses and merit-based rewards. Not only do employees say competitive pay is important–they also say more money would increase their loyalty and engagement with their current company.

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But cash isn’t the only benefit that’s important to employees. Respondents also likely say career development, training opportunities, and a good work environment play a part in their loyalty to the company.

Héctor Cerviño of Banco Compartamos in Mexico (one of the HR executives we interviewed as part of our research) puts it well: “First of all, you have to pay well.  It sounds very simple, but you have to pay well. If you pay well, then you can talk a lot about, you know, flex time, home offices…That’s all the cream in the coffee. But you have to have the coffee.”

Check out our reports

We’ve been presenting the results of our Workforce 2020 research in a series of webinars and discussing the key themes of the program here on the blog, but for a deeper look at the survey data, be sure to download our reports.

You can access the research reports and infographics on the SuccessFactors landing page or at the Oxford Economics project page.

Be sure to let us know what you think.

Join today’s free webinar on What Matters Most at Work

There is still time to register for today’s webinar on one of the key themes of our Workforce 2020 research, What Matters Most at Work.

Ed Cone, Oxford Economics’ Technology Practice Lead, will be discussing the benefits and incentives that are most important to today’s employees with SAP’s David Swanson and IBM’s Sheila McGovern. Be sure to tune in—you can register here.

Training the workforce of the future

Our Workforce 2020 surveys show that companies are having a hard time finding employees with the right skills. For example, the need for skills in areas like analytics, cloud, and programming/development will grow sizably over the next three years, but less than half of employees expect to be proficient with most of these key technologies in that time. And abilities in vital specialties such as cloud and mobile lag compared to other technologies like programming/development and job-specific software.

Technology skills

This is a large-scale issue; in fact, US Vice President Biden recently published a report on federal education, workforce, and training programs that emphasizes the need for strong skills development opportunities.

In order to develop the technology skills they need within their organization, companies will have to focus more on supplying the right technology and training to their employees. Currently, less than half of employees say their company provides ample training on the technology they need, and less than one-third say their company makes the latest technology available to them.