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85% surveyed in APAC believe workforce agility is the key to future success

85% surveyed in APAC believe workforce agility is the key to future success

Close to nine in 10 (85%) HR leaders and professionals in Asia Pacific (APAC) believe workforce agility is the key to future success, a new survey has revealed.

According to Aon's latest Global COVID-19 HR Pulse Survey, considering how COVID-19 has accelerate a number of key workforce trends, 27% of respondents felt it was an extremely important factor for future success, while nearly six in 10 (58%) felt so. 

In line with this, what did respondents think were critical to maintaining an agile workforce? The top response was the ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce, with 44% indicating it as 'very important', and 41% indicating it as 'extremely important'.

At the same time, more than nine in 10 (92%) think technology infrastructure plays a part, an extremely important factor to to 57% of them and a very important one to 35%.

Other critical factors that respondents considered included:

  • The ability to assess and identify employees with key digital skills 
    • Extremely important: 24%
    • Very important: 53%
  • The ability to assess and identify employees with traits (or skills) such as agility, adaptability, collaboration, communication, etc.
    • Extremely important: 30%
    • Very important: 55%
  • Communications infrastructure and tools
    • Extremely important: 48%
    • Very important: 44%
  • Leadership development programmes
    • Extremely important: 25%
    • Very important: 51%
  • Workplace culture that prizes agility
    • Extremely important: 31%
    • Very important: 50%
  • Training and development programmes
    • Extremely important: 20%
    • Very important: 54%
  • Flexible compensation programmes
    • Extremely important: 10%
    • Very important: 45%

How agile is the current workforce?

With the above in mind, how agile do these HR leaders and professionals say their workforce is today?

Just 6% said 'extremely agile' - the same percentage that said 'not agile',

At the same time, a majority (54%) said their workforce today is moderately agile; at the same time, a little more than three in 10 (32%) said their workforce is currently very agile.

Are leaders communicating agility well, and are teams understanding it?

On a scale of one to four, with four representing 'strongly agree' and one representing 'strongly disagree, respondents were asked to rate their agreement with a series of statements.

Of these statements, one stood out with the highest percentage choosing to strongly agree (48%) or to agree (40%) - "managers and employees value our flexible work options".

Following that, was the statement - "we are communicating more frequently with employees now than before the pandemic," which 49% strongly agreed with, and 36% agreed with.

Interesting, just 18% surveyed said they strongly agreed with the statement - "we effectively communicate expectations to our employees about the need to be agile", with 32% disagreeing and 4% strongly disagreeing.

That said, a significant number do still either strongly agree (26%) or agree (47%) with the statement - "we provide resources for our employees that support workforce agility and flexibility."

How important is talent mobility to the organisation's ability to meet future goals?

In addition to the above, respondents were also asked how important talent mobility (i.e. developing and moving people vertically and laterally through the organisation) was to the organisation's ability to meet future goals.

Nearly six in 10 (57%) said it was very important, followed by 23% who said it was moderately important, and a lower 17% saying it was extremely important. 

About the study

The study, conducted from 17 August to 25 August 2020, surveyed 872 respondents across Asia Pacific to understand how organisations across the region are adjusting their people strategies in response to the current environment.

Photo / 123RF

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