While the term ‘agility’ has been trending for some time in the business circles, there is no denying that a majority of businesses are struggling to achieve the evasive competitive edge that is agility. A recent report by KellyOCG, the global workforce strategy, solutions, and operations company, confirms the same. The purpose of the report, as defined by KellyOCG, was “To uncover the mindset shifts needed to take place in order for organizations to achieve agility and thrive in today’s testing business landscape.” Over 200 C-suite executives from leading companies in the APAC region were surveyed as a part of the report. The report defines workplace agility as “an organization’s ability to swiftly adapt its workforce capabilities to the peaks and troughs of highly-uncertain business environments and strengthen their resilience amidst emerging disruptions.” Perhaps, the most alarming finding of the report is that every two in three businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are not agile enough to “redesign the workforce to met urgent business needs.”
The four major business trends that reiterate the need for agility, as identified and analyzed by the report are:
Increasing automation across all job levels
- 86% of the leaders in the APAC region aim to enhance the efficiency and productivity of employees by automating work processes.
- 30% of the organizations’ current work processes are automated.
- An increase of (average) 11% is expected in the automation of work processes over the next five years in the region: 12% each in India and Singapore, 10% in Malaysia, and 8% in Australia.
Workers’ working preferences are rapidly changing
- Nearly 40% of the companies in APAC do not have clear recruitment, engagement, and retention policies and programs that cater to a multi-generational workforce.
- Over the APAC region, half of a company’s workforce stays for a period of less than three years.
- India has the highest average employee tenure of 4 years, followed by Malaysia at 3.9 years. Australia has the average employee tenure of 3.5 years, and Singapore has the lowest of 3 years.
The growing contingent workforce is a resource pool of great talent
- 25% of the leaders in the entire region stated that nearly 30% of their workforce is contingent workers.
- 48% of the gig workers are hired for mid and senior level positions. While mid-level contingent workers are hired the most in India, Australia has the highest senior-level contingent workers in the region.
- Every second C-suite leader in the report expects the number of contingent workers to increase in the next two years.
A strong HR function can drive business growth
- Only half of the companies in the APAC region are currently engaging their HR departments in the early stage of business strategy development.
- Less than one in three (31%) of the C-suite leaders surveyed are of the belief that their HR functional can provide strategic workforce insights.
- Less than 30% of the leaders in India believe that their HR is able to identify departments with current or pending staff attrition issues.
- Just about 20% of the Singaporean leaders think that their HR function has the ability to provide insights on HR policy changes on an organization’s workforce and its impact on business.
- 25% of the Malaysian leaders are of the view that their HR function is capable of attracting the right talent at the right time.
- In Australia, only 30% of the C-suite leaders think that their HR function has the ability to provide insight into the optimal talent mix that can meet business cycles and growth needs.
Being proactive and agile in such a volatile business environment will require businesses and companies to build stable, sustainable, and future-proof policies and processes. The findings of the report suggest that companies in the APAC region are still underprepared to rise up to the challenges caused by the changing nature of work. Despite showing progress in digitalizing their processes and assimilating contingent workers in business-critical roles, businesses are yet to identify HR as a strategic business partner. The report, nonetheless, serves as an excellent and insightful resource to understand the evolving concerns of business leaders in the APAC region, and comprehend how work, workforce, and the HR function is changing.