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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
A look at current trends and data
Article Type: Research and results From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 8, Issue 5
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1.1 Learners keen to embrace new technologies and learning practices
Employees are keener than HR and the training function to embrace innovative training practices and new technologies. This is according to a survey by European learning and development provider, Cegos, which earlier this year commissioned the independent study among 2,355 employees and 485 HR directors/training managers from companies employing more than 500 staff in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
1.2 Learners want more technology-led training
Half of employees across Europe want more e-learning and blended learning during the next three years, the survey found. In comparison, only about 40 percent of HR professionals plan to develop more programs using these techniques. Learners are also keener to embrace collaborative tools, like blogs, forums and wikis. A total of 44 percent of employees want to see these techniques developed compared to under a third (32 percent) of HR professionals. Face-to-face learning is more popular among HR professionals, with 42 percent of respondents wanting to see more classroom learning compared to 38 percent of employees.
1.3 The rise of e-learning
The UK and Spain continue to lead the way with the use of e-learning. A total of 47 percent of UK employees take part in e-learning training, against the European average of 40 percent. Overall, managers are more likely than non-managers to take part in e-learning programs. E-learning and blended learning programs are meeting the expectations of users and, across Europe, pure e-learning is more popular than blended learning in larger companies.
1.4 Making e-learning more effective
The study asked learners across Europe how e-learning can be made more effective. The vast majority of respondents (88 percent) rated work-based scenarios as their top choice as a tool for improving the effectiveness of e-learning. In second place, 82 percent rated self-assessment techniques and in third place, 73 percent rated help from a tutor or peer. The use of podcasts and e-learning on mobile phones were much less popular features, with only 47 and 38 percent, respectively, of respondents rating these among their top three methods for enhancing their learning experience.
1.5 For more information
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2.1 Companies looking to get more from HR technology
With cost control paramount and most HR budgets shrinking, employers are looking to make changes that will get the most from their HR technology, according to a survey by global consulting firm, Watson Wyatt. The 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey found that 61 percent of employers are taking steps to optimize their current service delivery models (which includes their mix of HR technologies, call centers and vendors). A third (33 percent) are reviewing and updating all vendor contracts, and only 27 percent are staying the course. Watson Wyatt’s survey was conducted in February and March 2009 and includes responses from 181 large employers.
Jon Osborne, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt, comments: “A thorough review of the way HR services are being delivered can reveal hidden costs and quick ways to leverage existing investments. Many companies have already invested heavily in HR technology but have not yet taken action to integrate applications and ensure their processes are working seamlessly together.”
2.2 Transition costs are blocking change
When asked to rank the top three factors that would prevent changes being made to HR sourcing strategies, 43 percent of respondents cited transition costs as the most important, followed by the lack of a business case (31 percent) and avoiding disruption in current service (11 percent).
Tony DeNucci, senior leader in Watson Wyatt’s technology and administration solutions practice, says: “Current economic pressures make the decision to invest in or change HR technologies or service providers especially difficult. Is it better to put off changes and avoid short-term transition costs, or to invest now and attain long-term cost savings and enhance the employee experience? It’s more than just a question of the cost of change; it’s also a question of the cost of not changing. The companies that realize this are taking action, as demonstrated by current market activity.”
2.3 For more information
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3.1 Leaders struggling to balance talent retention and cost reduction
There has been a pronounced shift in CEOs’ people objectives worldwide over the last year, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 12th Annual Global CEO Survey. Interviews with over 1,100 business leaders revealed CEOs are struggling to balance cost reduction with supporting critical talent and improving productivity – this is against a backdrop of economic deceleration and what the majority view as governments’ failure to create a skilled workforce.
Availability of key skills has slipped from being the number one challenge facing CEOs globally in 2008 to rank seventh in this year’s survey as leaders turn their attention to surviving the downturn. Yet, despite their changing short-term priorities, almost all respondents see access to and retention of top people as key to sustaining growth over the long term. With many organizations’ long-term people strategy being tested, PwC warns businesses to consider the complete picture to avoid blindly squeezing costs without fully appreciating the impact. CEOs need to take into account all workforce segments, the money invested in employees and the skills needed to compete in order to avoid cutting too deeply.
Survey findings include:
In the short term, many CEOs are understandably less concerned about the availability of key skills. Less than half (46 percent) expressed this concern, compared with 61 percent last year. But virtually all respondents saw the war for talent as a strategic concern, with 97 percent identifying attraction and retention of key talent as critical in the long term.
Pressure to cut costs is clearly having an impact with 26 percent of CEOs globally looking to reduce headcount over the next 12 months. This rises to 35 percent in the UK and 31 percent in the USA. In Russia and Spain these numbers are 37 and 41 percent, respectively.
Recruiting and integrating younger workers, known as “the millennials,” is a challenge for 61 percent of CEOs globally. A total of 30 percent of CEOs believe they have a comprehensive understanding of their employees’ views and needs.
The majority of CEOs in every economy believe governments have failed to provide people with the right skills. China and Hong Kong score relatively well in this respect, with 43 percent of CEOs stating their domestic governments are effective at creating a skilled labor force. The UK and US governments receive lower marks for workforce development, with just 18 and 17 percent of CEOs in these geographies having a positive view.
A total of 59 percent of CEOs do not feel employee influence has increased in recent years.
People aspects of merger and acquisition deals continue to be a challenge for 54 percent of respondents.
3.2 For more information
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4.1 Corporate CSR fails to convince employees
Around 50 percent of companies disappoint employees when it comes to corporate CSR, according to a study led by Krauthammer. The survey, conducted in collaboration with experts from the Universities of Amsterdam and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, examined employees’ views of their organizations’ corporate societal responsibility (CSR) practices – what do employees expect and how well are those expectations met?
According to the findings, in general, around 50 percent of organizations are operational or even exemplary when it comes to CSR practices relating to the triple perspectives of planet, profit and people, according to employees. The other half, however, displays a reactive or inactive CSR policy. Alternatively, those organizations are failing to inform their own people about what they are doing.
4.2 For more information