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Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
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Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013

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Accenture - Trends Reshaping the Future of HR - August 2013
Tapping Skills Anywhere, Anytime
by Diego S. De León, Katherine LaVelle and Susan M. Cantrell

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  • 1. 1 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. Trends Reshaping the Future of HR Tapping Skills Anywhere, Anytime by Diego S. De León, Katherine LaVelle and Susan M. Cantrell
  • 2. Skills gaps are widening, and HR professionals will have to work hard to ensure that their organizations have the talent they need. To do this, the HR organization will need the ability to quickly tap skills when they’re needed—and where. 2 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved.
  • 3. 3 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. The Trend: Key Skills Will Become Scarce— Especially in a Turbulent Business Environment In the next ten years, this trend will only intensify. For one thing, organizations will step up hiring as the global economy recovers. But talent supplies are expected to shrink owing to baby-boomer retirements and declining birthrates in major markets around the world. This is a sure recipe for fierce competition over needed skills. At the same time, demand for highly skilled labor is expected to increase. Economists predict that the majority of new jobs over the next decade will be at intermediate and high levels of skill.4 Compounding the problem, organizations will need a more diverse range of skills to succeed in a fast-changing business environment. These skills are essential for improving efficiencies, boosting productivity and presenting one “face” to the customer. And as the business environment continues changing at Even with millions of people unemployed in major markets around the globe, organizations are hard pressed to find the skills they need. As much as 34 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling open positions, and 73 percent cite lack of experience, skills or knowledge as the primary obstacle to recruiting needed talent.1 In many countries, the percentages of employers facing hiring challenges are far higher: In the United States, the number is 52 percent; in Brazil, it’s 57 percent; in India, it has reached 67 percent; and in Japan, it’s a whopping 80 percent.2 Perhaps even more alarming, only 49 percent of workers recently surveyed by Accenture reported having all the skills required to perform in their current job.3 lightning speed, companies will need to constantly modify the mix of skills in their workforce as well as bring in new ones. This will make it harder for organizations to keep themselves stocked with the right skills, when and where they need them. Educational institutions—key suppliers of skills—are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change.5 Sure, such institutions in emerging economies like Brazil, India and China are now producing workers with higher-level skills. But importing skills from one country to another will likely continue to be a challenge.
  • 4. 4 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. Today’s fast changing, turbulent business environment means that talent must easily flow to where it is needed most, or that it needs to be developed so that it has the skills necessary to meet the realities of the current business environment. But our research data suggests that most organizations are finding this challenging. Consider the following: • Only 38 percent reported that their employer looks at all of their talents and capabilities when deciding how to best utilize them; • Only 53 percent of workers report that their organization documents their skills; • Only 49 percent of workers believe their employers help them develop in-demand skills to ensure they remain marketable and highly effective. Given such statistics, it is perhaps not surprising that just under half (49 percent) of workers reported that there is no gap between the skills they have and the ones they need to perform their job at their best, and that just sixty-two percent believe their employer fully utilizes their unique skill sets to help meet business goals. Clearly, organizations aren’t maximizing the potential of their workforce, but big benefits can ensue for organizations that do. Impact on the Business As companies race to develop the next generation of products and services, they will continue to need ever more sophisticated and evolving skill sets. If those skill sets aren’t available and easily tapped, then businesses face losing the race altogether. Explains Stefan Niehusmann, Managing Director of IT service at German energy company RWE, “If we don’t work on our skills gaps, it will have business implications. For one, customers will go elsewhere and opportunities for employees will stagnate. Or it will lead to a situation where projects will get too expensive because we’ll only be able to rely on external resources. In short, it could sink our business; so we make it a C-level issue.” Adds another HR professional in a global media company, “We have skill needs and gaps that we couldn’t even have predicted just two years ago and for jobs we hardly even knew existed. The world is moving so rapidly that we need to develop the ability to quickly develop or source skills just in time as we need them.”
  • 5. 5 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. Impact on HR To compete in this brave new world, HR organizations will need to shift from reactive, supply-side fulfillment of skills to proactive, demand-side fulfillment. Think about it: “just-in-time” processes helped manufacturing companies reduce costs and improve flexibility by getting materials delivered immediately before they’re needed for production. Likewise, HR organizations will need to develop a “just-in-time” workforce—one that enables them to instantly find and deploy skills when and where they’re required in the business. As advisers to the business, HR professionals can also weigh factors like the cost and time to learn new skills, the implications of learning delivered through social media tools and the cost and ease of finding highly qualified candidates. By using data-driven sourcing strategies, HR professionals can constantly adjust the equation to determine the best solutions to skills challenges. Manage a large extended workforce. To quickly tap into needed skills, HR can start supporting dynamically configured teams of workers who may not be employees at all. In organizations that use such teams, full-time employees sit at the center of an ever-shifting, diverse global pool of contractors, temporary staff, business partners, outsourcing providers, the general public, and “talent in the cloud,” or individuals sourced over the Internet to perform work on a transactional basis. HR professionals will need to know how to manage talent that stretches beyond the organization’s walls. How can HR build a “just-in-time” workforce? The following practices can help: Advise the business on how best to close skills gaps. Finance experts use data modeling, analysis and deep financial expertise to advise the business on how to get needed capital, inventory or equipment. HR professionals can likewise use data modeling, analysis and deep labor expertise to help their organizations figure out how to get needed skills. By becoming experts on the talent landscape, HR professionals could position business leaders to answer critical questions like the following: • “Which geographic locations should we source skills from, given factors like labor supply, labor laws and the ease with which citizens can work in other countries?” • “Should we put more emphasis on contractors or permanent employees in our workforce?” • “Would it be better to train existing workers or seek skills from the outside?” • “Should we close skills gaps through other alternatives, such as redesigning work?”
  • 6. 6 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved.
  • 7. 7 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. Use proactive, data-driven talent sourcing. Recruiting professionals and hiring managers won’t wait for talent to find them. Instead, they’ll proactively seek out the talent they need and use analytics to quickly identify and attract the best individuals. To do so, they will gather and analyze a rich array of data on criteria such as candidates’ previous job performance, current skills, motivation, cultural fit, work interests, work competition results, samples of actual work, social media contributions, and geographic preferences and restrictions. Traditional resumes listing a candidate’s work experience and education won’t cut it anymore. Currently, 60 percent of respondents to an Accenture survey said that they would be willing to make such information about themselves available to potential employers, as long as it was done in a confidential and controlled manner. As the trend toward radical transparency gathers further momentum, this percentage is likely to increase over the next decade. Foster external global talent mobility. Organizations are increasingly finding the skills they need in locations other than where those skills are needed. To surmount this challenge, HR professionals will need to know how to locate, source and manage talent on a global basis. They will also need to adopt virtual work policies and lobby for government policies that enable skills to flow to where they’re most in demand. Support internal talent mobility. HR will also need to help internal employees move to where their skills are needed inside the organization. Accenture survey results reveal that only 34 percent of workers find it easy to shift to another job in their company where their skills would make the biggest difference. HR professionals should help create frictionless internal talent markets where talented employees and the managers who need them can readily find each other. Make skills development part of everyday work. HR organizations will need to help current employees make learning new skills a component of their everyday work. Activities like peer-to-peer learning through social media can be far more helpful in this effort than slower-moving educational institutions or traditional training departments. Already, only 21 percent of respondents from an Accenture survey said they acquire new skills from company-provided formal training; this trend is likely to accelerate as new forms of learning take hold and pressure to develop new skills keeps mounting.6
  • 8. 8 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. Make work fully transparent. Today, significant numbers of people have little or no visibility into employers’ skills needs, especially people who reside outside the organization. In an Accenture survey of employees, only 49 percent of respondents agreed that their organizations provided a line of sight into skills needed in different roles and career paths; only 28 percent understood the skills needed in their current career before embarking on it.7 HR organizations will need to make skills requirements transparent to employees, educational institutions and the broader community. To do so, they can forge new partnerships with educational institutions as well as create mechanisms that give the general public visibility into the world of work. Examples of such mechanisms include simulated games, short virtual internships, “vocation vacations” where new roles can be tried out temporarily for a few days at a time, and videos showing employees doing actual work using real skills.8 The new capabilities required for a demand-driven approach to skills fulfillment will radically reshape the HR function. The function may need to create new roles, such as talent data analyst (a person who analyzes data to identify and deploy external or internal talent) and extended workforce talent manager. Other roles, such as training specialist, may change. For instance, training professionals might involve employees in the development of learning content. Or they may turn this activity over to employees entirely. In either case, HR professionals will need new collaboration and facilitation skills as well as sophisticated marketing skills to attract learners to the content that gets developed. Overall, HR roles will likely become more tightly integrated into the business. In many ways, the HR professional’s role may shift from the development of highly rigid and formal processes related to developing specific career ladders and advancement opportunities, training, or recruitment processes to one in which they design incentives, market-based mechanisms (e.g., shift trading markets or internal labor markets), and information sharing tools to help individuals develop their own career trajectories, learning opportunities, and future employment opportunities based on demand. Bottom Line In the future, businesses will likely demand higher-level, more complex skills than those required today. Yet such skills will be increasingly difficult to obtain. Moreover, to compete in a fast-changing economy, organizations will have to continually redefine the mix of skills that they draw on. They may also need to quickly bring new skills in while phasing existing ones out. This will demand a new capability in HR in the future. HR professionals—especially ones in rapidly changing industries—who cling to conventional business attitudes and policies will find it difficult to ensure that their organizations have the skills essential to compete. By contrast, those organizations that develop a “just-in- time” workforce capability—through the development of a large extended workforce; a proactive, global and data- driven talent sourcing strategy; and a highly mobile, fluid workforce that learns new skills as an embedded part of everyday work while sharing their skills transparently with others—will position their organizations to gain and sustain a formidable business advantage.
  • 9. 9 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved.
  • 10. 10 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved. About the Authors Diego S. De León is a managing director responsible for learning and collaboration offerings and capabilities within the Accenture Talent Organization management consulting practice, and the lead for Talent Organization in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America. He has extensive experience working with international companies, governments and non-profit organizations in the areas of learning and collaboration, talent management, global operating models, IT implementations, HR cost reduction and culture change. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has contributed to articles published in major media outlets in Europe, Africa and Latin America. He is based in Madrid, Spain. Katherine LaVelle is a managing director in the Accenture Talent Organization management consulting practice and is responsible for the group’s North America business. She has spent much of her career consulting in the financial services industry, working primarily in North America and Europe, implementing international, large- scale and complex change programs, specifically in the capital markets and retail banking sectors. Her areas of expertise also include merger integration, operating model and organization design, human resources strategy, sales and service performance and business-driven learning. Ms. LaVelle is based in Washington, DC. Susan M. Cantrell is a research fellow at the Accenture Institute for High Performance. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Cantrell is the coauthor of Workforce of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management Through Customization (Harvard Business Press, 2010). She has coauthored more than 30 articles or book chapters, including Elements of Successful Organizations (The Workforce Institute at Kronos, 2011). About Our Research The primary objective of this large-scale research initiative is to develop insights that can be useful to both HR and business executives as they seek to maximize the role of HR as a critical function within the organization. We are exploring how current business trends might reshape the nature of the function—in terms of HR’s mission and mandate, the key activities HR performs, the skill set necessary for HR professionals, the metrics on which to evaluate HR’s performance, and the organizational and governance models and roles that will most effectively help HR maximize its value to the business. We also are examining current best practices in HR, as well as some of the obstacles HR is facing and how those obstacles can be overcome in the future. Contributors This research effort has benefited from contributions made by the following people, whom we would like to thank for their generous support and insights: Anthony Abbatiello, James Arnott, Maureen Brosnan, John Campagnino, William Castle, Elizabeth Craig, Christopher Crumb, Jill Goldstein, Breck Marshall, Terence Nulty, Paul O’Keefe, John Poisson, Kevin Singel, Jill Smart, David Smith, Robert J. Thomas and GL Zunker.
  • 11. Related Reading “Solving the Skills Paradox: Seven Ways to Close Your Critical Skills Gaps,” by David Smith, Diego S. De León, Breck Marshall and Susan M. Cantrell, Accenture, 2012. “Creating a Just-in-Time Workforce,” by Susan M. Cantrell, Norbert Büning and Breck Marshall, Accenture, 2011. Notes 1. “Talent Shortage 2011 Survey Results,” Manpower, 2011. 2. Ibid. 3. The Accenture US Skills Gap Survey, 2011. See “Solving the Skills Paradox: Seven Ways to Close Your Critical Skills Gaps,” by David Smith, Diego S. De Leon, Breck Marshall and Susan M. Cantrell, Accenture, 2012. 4. See, for example, “Skills Supply and Demand in Europe: Medium-Term Forecast up to 2020,” by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxemburg, 2010. The report projects that 81 percent of all jobs in the EU will require medium- and high-level qualifications in 2020. 5. See, for example, “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,” Harvard Graduate School of Education, February, 2011. 6. “Solving the Skills Paradox: Seven Ways to Close Your Critical Skills Gaps,” by David Smith, Diego S. De Leon, Breck Marshall and Susan M. Cantrell, Accenture, 2012. 7. Ibid. 8. “Vocation Vacations” is the name of a company that helps people try out new work experiences while on a short vacation. See http://www.vocationvacations.com. About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with 257,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. Through its Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship focus, Accenture is committed to equipping 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com. About the Accenture Institute for High Performance The Accenture Institute for High Performance creates strategic insights into key management issues and macroeconomic and political trends through original research and analysis. Its management researchers combine world-class reputations with Accenture’s extensive consulting, technology and outsourcing experience to conduct innovative research and analysis into how organizations become and remain high-performance businesses. 11 | Accenture Institute for High Performance | Copyright © 2013 Accenture. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Copyright © 2013 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture.

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