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Employee engagement and retention a global problem: Deloitte survey

Zafirah Salim | March 6, 2015
Majority of the polled HR and business leaders cited lack of employee engagement as a key problem, but many of them still fail to take action to improve their business culture.

Lack of employee engagement is the key challenge currently faced by 87 percent of HR and business leaders. Despite this, majority of organisations still fail to take action to improve their culture, potentially jeopardising future growth.

These findings are according to Deloitte's third annual Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report released yesterday, which polled over 3,300 HR and business leaders across 106 countries.  

The survey also revealed that the number of respondents who cited engagement as being "very important" doubled from 26 percent to 50 percent this year. However, 60 percent of them said they do not possess an adequate programme to measure and improve engagement, indicating a lack of preparedness for addressing this issue.

In addition, only 12 percent of the respondents have a programme in place to define and build a strong culture, while only seven percent rated themselves as excellent at measuring, driving and improving engagement and retention.

Increased focus on leadership, learning, and skills gap

Leadership gaps - last year's most critical issue - continued to be top of mind for HR and business leaders, as 86 percent of them cited it as a key issue for this year.

However, the number of respondents who said this was a "very important" issue jumped from 38 percent last year, to 50 percent this year. Interestingly, according to the Deloitte Business Confidence Report 2014, only 49 percent of C-level executives surveyed indicate that they are committed to developing leadership skills at all levels of the organisation. 

Recognising the fact that a general lack of skills is likely to impede business growth, 85 percent of HR and business leaders ranked learning and development as a top issue, making this the third most critical issue in this year's survey.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of respondents cited workforce skills as a top issue (up from 75 percent last year); while 35 percent rated the lack of skills in HR as a "very important" problem, up from 25 percent last year.  

"In addition to workers' changing expectations from employers, skills needed on the job are changing faster than ever. Organisations are quickly falling behind on developing the right skills across all levels," said Brett Walsh, global human capital practice leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

"There's an urgent need for organisations to re-evaluate their learning programmes and treat leadership development as a long-term investment, rather than a discretionary training spend item when times are favourable," he added.

Businesses struggling to simplify the workplace

In addition to the challenges of employee engagement and leadership, the Deloitte report shows that companies are struggling to decrease workplace stress, simplify business processes, and reduce complexity.

In fact, 66 percent of respondents believe their employees are "overwhelmed" by today's work environment; and 74 percent cite workplace complexity as a significant problem. While more than half of the surveyed organisations have some type of simplification program, 25 percent have no plans to implement such a program.  


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