Driving Forward
published by , on 21/11/2010

As organizations shift their business gears from reverse to neutral and into drive, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) revisited BCG’s 2008 global “Creating People Advantage“ report with a follow-up survey: Creating People Advantage 2010: How Companies Can Adapt Their HR Practices for Volatile Times.


The results identified four HR topics as critical:

  1. Managing talentidentifying, attracting, and retaining the right people—continues to be the topic with highest future importance. But current capabilities in this area have improved only slightly since BCG’s 2008 global survey on HR topics.
  2. Improving leadership development has risen in perceived importance over the past two years. As noted, 56 percent of survey respondents cited a critical talent gap for senior management succession. In volatile times, leaders who can convey the company’s vision and motivate employees are invaluable. It is generally easier and more effective for homegrown talent to step into leadership roles. Yet companies fill more than half of their executive positions from outside, suggesting that internal leadership development programs, such as corporate “universities,” need to be improved.
  3. Strategically planning the workforce has moved higher on the agenda as companies return to growth after the economic crisis and recession. Companies need a clear and accurate picture of the composition, age structure, and capabilities of their people. But executives rated current capabilities low in this regard. Business volatility and uncertainty increase the need to rely on advanced analytics, scenario simulations, and other sophisticated workforce planning levers.
  4. Employee engagement suffered during the past two years as many companies resorted to layoffs and other cutbacks. The survey found that flexibility measures such as job mobility and flexible work arrangements can help improve engagement. Strengthening the corps of middle managers, who supervise the majority of employees, is another means of bringing engagement back.

Creating People Advantage 2010 delivers an informative guide towards prioritization of talent management practices to position organizations to move from low gear into overdrive.

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