Survey: Employers Stress Collaboration, Shrug Off Reskilling

Remote Work Technology

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Global HR leaders expect managing the newly dispersed workforce will make it challenging to balance employee needs, the organization’s goals, policies and culture. And as they labor to develop strategies, many employers are prioritizing their need to support collaboration and remote work in the short term over training employees for the future.

The emphasis on remote work is understandable. Organizations generally agree that their approach will a differentiator with external candidates, according to a survey by Oxford Economics, SHRM and SAP SuccessFactors. More than half of the employers in the U.S., and 38% overseas, believe establishing a culture that supports remote employees will be one of their top three challenges once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.

Employers prioritize remote-collaboration technology over learning, reskilling tools, survey reveals. @SuccessFactors @SAP #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet

Given that, many view their capabilities in this area as a long-term investment, and interest in collaboration solutions outpaced that of analytics or return-to-work products.  

Many U.S. employers regard their workers as being appropriately equipped in this regard. Those in China, India, Mexico, Spain and Germany were more likely to see a need for investment in remote collaboration tools.

Reskilling Talk, Not Money

For all the talk about reskilling we hear from analysts and learning vendors, few employers plan to invest in reskilling and upskilling programs over the next 12 months. In the U.S., less than a quarter of respondents have such plans (22%). Overseas, 38% of HR leaders plan to pursue new learning programs.

At least in the U.S., one reason for this may be an emphasis on making new hires rather than promoting from within. Such a “buy-versus-build” mentality can be short-sighted, the report suggests, because it addresses near-term challenges at the expense of retaining institutional knowledge.

This isn’t particularly surprising. Earlier this year, Randstad Sourceright found that only 22% of employers would take responsibility for reskilling their employees to meet business needs, even though 92% of HR leaders thought they should do so. Meanwhile, Gartner found that the number of skills necessary in the workplace increases at a rate of 10% annually.

Culture and Inclusion

American interest in corporate culture and value lag the commitment seen in other countries, the report indicated. While more than 80% of U.S. respondents say they’re likely to recommit to culture, value and inclusive hiring and promotion, they’re less likely to undertake specific actions.

For example, just 46% of American HR leaders said they’re likely to adjust compensation to address pay inequities. That compares to 64% in the UK. Forty-seven percent of U.S. respondents are likely to change structure or benefits to foster inclusion, compared with 73% in Mexico and 67% in Spain.

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