Global Orgs Transform HR

Most Global Organizations Plan to Transform HR and Talent Development, Says Mercer

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As the competition for talent continues to rise and business models are disrupted by technology and socio-demographic shifts, organizations are still taking an evolutionary approach to their talent strategies in the face of revolutionary changes. According to Mercer’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Study, the majority (93 percent) of organizations worldwide report they are planning to redesign their structure in the next two years, yet only 4 percent of business executives say their organization is “change agile.”

“In an age where digitization, robotics, and AI are wreaking havoc with traditional business models, it is easy for executives to focus on superior technology as the solution to ensuring the competitiveness of their organizations and to overlook the human element,” said Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s career business. “Growth rests on engaging and empowering today’s workforce in ways that we are just beginning to uncover. It takes employees armed with the right skills and opportunities to develop innovative solutions to advance the business and themselves.”

Mercer’s study shares insights from more than 7,000 perspectives and compares the views of senior business executives, HR leaders, and employees from organizations around the world. The report assesses significant gaps in alignment, identifies several critical disconnects concerning change, and makes recommendations to capture growth.

Most notably, despite organizations’ plans to transform, HR and talent development leaders do not have organization or job redesign on their list of priorities. In fact, the top priorities of these leaders are attracting top talent externally, developing leaders for succession, identifying high potentials, and building skills across the workforce. This reflects the priority of evolving employee capabilities, but may not align with executive’s goals for more substantial workplace change.


Additionally, while HR leaders express confidence in the talent management processes they have in place (70 percent), employees are still looking elsewhere for new opportunities. Slightly more than a third (34 percent) of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months, even though they are satisfied in their jobs. Equally concerning is that those employees not planning to leave their current roles report they are less “energized” in terms of bringing their authentic selves to work and therefore less likely to thrive in a collaborative and innovative workplace. Moreover, business executives view talent scarcity more acutely than HR professionals, with 43 percent expecting a significant increase in competition compared to 34 percent, respectively.


“Organizations need to prioritize a culture of agility to stay ahead of rapidly changing market trends,” said Kate Bravery, global practices leader for Mercer’s career business. “Those employers that empower their workforce—by helping them plan for the unknown, mitigate risk, and thrive at work—will be more successful in building a responsive and successful organization.”

Mercer’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Study is based on the input of more than 1,700 HR professionals, 5,400 employees, and 400 business executives from 37 countries and 20 industry sectors. For more information or to request the full report, visit

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected] 

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