Manpower Group logoA global survey by ManpowerGroup found that, despite the widespread belief that workforce strategies are vital for attracting and retaining talent, most firms aren’t prioritizing it as such. In fact, 78 percent of survey respondents reported to either lacking a workforce strategy or struggle in implementing one. Only 38 percent of respondents view HR as a full business partner.

ManpowerGroup’s President of the Americas, Jonas Prising, said, “[survey results indicate a] yet to be recognized but very strong link between the availability of the right talent with the right skills, with an organization’s ability to successfully execute its business strategy. That is the prime driver behind the need for a workforce strategy.” Prising added that HR managers responding to the survey may not realize the growing trends that make such strategic initiatives critical.

“There is a bifurcation in the workforce — first, there is highly desirable talent that is hotly sought after, both in emerging and developed markets, with the kinds of skills that are getting increasingly hard to find. But at the same time there is record high unemployment, particularly for youth in both Europe and the United States, and there are a lot of people not fully employed in emerging markets,” he said.

Winning talent continues to become more difficult even while organizations are demanding more from existing employees, so it is critical for HR leaders to develop a human capital strategy to plan for organizational growth, the report states. This includes deploying existing employees and hiring other workers. Even more so for small and medium-sized businesses than for larger firms, as Prising states:

“Many larger organizations have workforce strategies in place, but the value of workforce strategies for smaller organizations may be even more important, as the value of each of their employees is greater, depending on what they do,” he said. “Big organizations have thousands more people and therefore a little bit more flexibility, but I found it interesting in the survey that there was quite significantly less penetration in small to medium-sized businesses.”

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