09 April, 2019

India, Mumbai

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Study identifies four top trends shaping the future of work in India

  • 88% of executives in India predict significant disruption in the next three years
  • 76% of companies in India plan to automate more work in the next 12 months
  • 70% of Indian employees prefer more clearly defined responsibilities
  • More than half (54%) of employees want curated learning to help them evolve their skills and prepare for future jobs
  • 62% of HR leaders in India are involved in planning the rollout of major change project

According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study, 88% of executives in India predict significant disruption in the next three years, compared to 40% in 2018. As executives focus on making their organizations “future-fit”, significant human capital risks – including the ability to close employee skill gaps and overcome change fatigue – can impede progress towards transformation. Addressing these concerns is paramount, something India’s C-suite is quite confident they can achieve with more than two-thirds of executives rating their company’s ability to mitigate human capital risks as very effective (compared to just one in three globally).

In today’s climate of uncertainty, employees seek stability. Mercer’s study finds that job security is one of the top three reasons employees in India joined their company, and one of the main reasons they stay. Yet, two in three employees are concerned that AI and automation will replace their job. The way to help employees feel secure is to take a human approach to digital transformation. Thriving employees (those prospering in the areas of health, wealth, and career) are twice as likely to describe their role as “relationship focused” and four times as likely to describe their work environment as “collaborative.”

“The future of work is about connectivity, creating a work environment that appeals to today’s workforce by building a coherent sense of identity, sparking connections, and using data to personalize the experience,” said Kate Bravery, Career Global Solutions Leader at Mercer.

Mercer’s study identifies four top trends that leading companies are pursuing in 2019: Aligning Work to Future Value, Building Brand Resonance, Curating the Work Experience, and Delivering Talent-led Change.

Aligning Work to Future Value. AI and automation continue to transform the competitive landscape – 76% of companies in India plan to automate more work in the next 12 months. At the same time, the C-suite names job redesign as one of the top five areas of talent investment with the highest potential for return on investment, and 70% of employees prefer more clearly defined responsibilities. The challenge for HR is to build an integrated people strategy and leverage the right talent analytics to inform decisions on the future size and shape of the organization – yet only two in five companies have good insights into the business impact of their buy, build, borrow, and automate strategies. “Redesigning jobs amidst a changing landscape requires identifying what jobs will create value in the future and finding ways and means to motivate employees to pursue skills and behaviors required for these jobs,” says Shanthi Naresh, India Business Leader, Career.

Building Brand Resonance. What matters to employees and job seekers is the way a company conducts business and upholds the values of its brand. In a social, transparent world, the lines are blurring between a company’s consumer brand and its talent value proposition (TVP). Successful companies ensure that their brand resonates with all workforce segments – 68% of high-growth organizations globally differentiate their TVP to different groups (such as contingent workers), and organizations in India are on this journey too with 34% of companies already heavily tailoring their TVP.

Curating the Work Experience. An effective and relevant day-to-day work experience is essential for retaining top talent. According to Mercer’s study, thriving employees in India are almost two times more likely to work for an organization that enables quick decision-making (90% vs. 59%) and that provides tools and resources for them to do their job efficiently (89% vs. 67%). Personalized and simplified professional development plans are an ask from employees – more than half (54%) of employees want curated learning to help them evolve their skills and prepare for future jobs. “Technology plays a critical role – high-growth firms are three times as likely as moderate-growth firms to provide a fully digital experience for employees. A number of organizations are offering a bouquet of learning options on a variety of different platforms, including virtual, to enable employees to create their own learning path,” says Ms. Naresh.

Delivering Talent-led Change. To ensure talent is at the center of change, HR should have a voice in business transformation. This year’s study found 62% of HR leaders in India are involved in planning the rollout of major change projects and 62% involved in executing those plans. But, only half (54%) of HR leaders participated in the idea generation stage of transformation initiatives. HR sees employee morale as a significant barrier to making changes stick: “Employee attrition” and a “decline in employee trust” are two of the top challenges in the year ahead. “These findings point to the need for transformation efforts to focus on people-centered design and better talent metrics to understand how people are experiencing and embracing change,” said Mr. Ilya Bonic, President- Career, Mercer. Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study shares insights from over 7,300 senior business executives, HR leaders, and employees from nine key industries and 16 geographies around the world.

About Mercer:

Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 23,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With nearly 65,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $14 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.co.in. Follow Mercer on Twitter @MercerInIndia