Global human capital trends 2014

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Written by Tim Baker on 17 September 2014

What are the important implications for L&D professionals for Deloitte's newly-released Global Capital Trends 2014 survey findings report? First, it should be acknowledged as one of the largest ever studies of global human capital trends. It involved more than 2,500 businesses in more than 90 countries, covered all the major industries and all the world's geographies.

The key finding is that today's workforce demands a whole new set of leadership, talent, recruiting, and engagement strategies. Human resources as a profession is struggling to keep up.


More specifically, leadership continues to be the biggest challenge companies face around the world. As a profession, this suggests that we need to think of new and more innovative ways of helping managers develop their leadership skills. It is likely that leadership development will remain a key learning priority for the immediate term.

Engagement and retention

The 21st century workforce is dramatically different and continuing to evolve. Engagement and retention are now top issues on the minds of CEOs and CHROs. I think we are tackling this issue superficially. This is not about trinkets or working conditions. At the heart of an engaged workforce is a new psychological contract between employer and employee. We need to put the spotlight squarely on the employment relationship to enhance employee engagement.

HR is falling behind

HR is falling behind in structure, skills, analytics, technology, and development of world-class recruiting and L&D according to the findings. The report highlighted the need for corporate training to have improved content, greater context and deeper expertise. There was a strong perception that learning and development needs a coordinated structure. In addition, there needs to be a focus on continuous learning and a move from "push" training to "pull" learning.

Overwhelmed employee

Technology, analytics, and the overwhelmed employee are acute focus areas for HR. How do we simplify the work environment? An explosion of information or "hyper-employment" and always connected 24/7 work environment is overwhelming employees. This undermines productivity and contributes to low employee engagement. So helping employees manage information and schedules, their own development and expectations of others is now a high priority for L& D professionals.

Skill gaps

Skills gaps, rapid obsolescence of skills, the need for next generation learning, and talent mobility will differentiate companies in the future. Learning professionals need to address these issues and provide their organisations with a competitive advantage identifying and filling skill gaps more rapidly than their competitors.

If you haven't already done so, I suggest you get a copy of this survey report and study it. There are lots for our profession to consider here. These represent the top human capital priorities for organisations globally and each priority has implications for L&D.

Dr Tim Baker is an international consultant and regular contributor to TJ

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