Managing

Australian companies identify HR as weak spot, future leadership high on agenda: Deloitte report

Melinda Oliver /

Australian companies are turning a critical eye to the performance of their own human resources operations, with 25% believing they are “underperforming” with “radical improvements needed”, a new report reveals.

The Resetting Horizons: Human Capital Trends 2013 report conducted by Deloitte looked into more than 1300 organisations across Australia and 58 other countries. It reviewed the trends that are driving critical business and human capital decisions.

A further 28% of Australian companies believed they had “adequate” HR systems with “need to improve”, while 6% reported they were “getting by” with their HR systems, but had a “significant need to improve”; 36% of Australian businesses were more positive and felt their HR and talent programs were “world class”.

A key finding for Australian business was that 72% viewed talent development as a core focus area, as 84% of Australian respondents expected business growth in the next year.

Other key areas of concern for business leaders were developing succession planning and leadership paths, 56%; sustaining employee engagement and morale, 47%; and connecting HR and talent with business critical priorities, 39%.

Pip Dexter, Deloitte Consulting human capital partner, told SmartCompany this morning the results demonstrate a “dose of reality” when it comes to how businesses view their HR operations.

Dexter explains that the changing work environment – with more people working from home, on the road, or communicating via technology rather than face to face – means businesses are more aware their HR systems need to stay ahead of the pace.

Dexter says the idea of talent development is becoming more critical for companies.

“There was a point of view that talent development is 70% learning, 20% coaching and 10% is education,” she says.

“Now it is really about informal learning – it is about 10% of formal learning and about 90% of learning through informal learning opportunities.”

Dexter describes an ideal scenario for informal learning are “stretch assignments”, and finding ways where employee capabilities can be utilised to meet the needs of the business.

Mature-aged workers are also good for organisations when it comes to learning opportunities, Dexter says, as they can serve as coaching mentors, or offer strategic project coaching.

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