Career frameworks deliver positive return, reveals Mercer study

Unprecedented numbers of companies are seeking to ‘build from within’ and career frameworks are heralded as a cornerstone of success, according to new research.

As the marketplace for quality talent remains competitive, employers are assessing their strategies for attracting and retaining top-performing employees. The Mercer’s 2015 Career Frameworks in Talent Management Survey, reveals that more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of organisations worldwide report their Career Framework delivered a positive return on their investment. 

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Moreover, 73 per cent of employers are planning to continue with their current strategy of “building” talent from within their organisations rather than “buying” talent from the external marketplace.

Kate Bravery, Partner and Global Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent business: “Attracting and retaining the right talent continues to be a challenge for companies as a result of the competitive job market, flat compensation budgets, shortage in critical skillsets, and a constantly changing business environment.”

“Employers recognise that their employees are the key to success in today’s global economy. By focusing on developing and outlining career paths, they can influence employees’ growth potential within the company, improve retention efforts, and cost-effectively develop a workforce that contributes to higher business performance.”

Consistent with the overwhelmingly positive response to the benefits of Career Frameworks, an outcome which other HR processes often struggle to achieve, just 3 per cent of employers plan to shift from their current approach of building talent to buying it in the upcoming year.

The priority business challenges related to talent that impact career frameworks are increasing employee mobility, engagement, and retention (56 per cent); benchmarking rewards and compensation (56 per cent); and accelerating talent strategies to execute business objectives (53 per cent). While these challenges are prevalent worldwide, the prominence varies by region based on career philosophy, talent needs, and effective use of career toolkits and training. 

“As companies seek to align employee expectations for career experiences with organisational needs to build the talent pipeline, we are witnessing an increase in discussions around the ‘science of structure’ and how to align expectations around career transparency, velocity and control.

“Undoubtedly, career frameworks are essential for effective workforce planning and talent management worldwide. Not only do they result in higher employee engagement levels and mitigated loss of talent, they provide a structure on which to base rewards, performance management, and development actions – enabling the individual and the organisation to thrive and deliver business value,” added Bravery.

While one in two organisations in Europe has a career framework in place, an additional 41 per cent have plans to implement one. However, organisations in this region are the least likely to have transparency with employees as to what is needed to progress within the organisation.

Sue Filmer, Principal in Mercer’s Talent business: “For companies looking to attract, retain and engage employees with exciting career possibilities the career framework demonstrates organisational commitment to career growth. 

“In addition, as many organisations focus on building an inclusive workplace, a career framework explains the options for professional development and what individuals should do to influence their own career direction. In both cases, transparency is key.”    

The survey also found that half of organisations worldwide currently use career frameworks and an additional 37 per cent plan to implement a career framework. In addition, the top talent programs driven by the career framework are training and development (73 per cent), followed by performance management (62 per cent), career pathing (61 per cent), and succession planning (61 per cent).


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