Research: Innovation in HR is in crisis

Joint research between SumTotal Systems and Fosway Group has highlighted what is driving effectiveness in talent management and people development in EMEA, and perhaps more importantly, what is not working, as HR organisations strive to digitally transform their people functions.

The research report “Talent Management and People Development in Practice: A Call to Action” builds on SumTotal’s work with Fosway Group in 2017. The research explored the future of work, shifting patterns and transformational technology. This new study explores the technological challenges and innovation investment required to support the acquisition, nurture, development and retention of the best talent. The findings draw on the real-world experience and insight of HR and talent professionals from EMEA and are supplemented with data from Fosway’s ongoing HR and talent research.

The results show that in an environment where talent acquisition, learning and development, and employee engagement are delivering the biggest advantage in the war for talent, the underlying enabling technology is failing to meet HR’s needs. This ranges from around one third (33 per cent) still relying on spreadsheets to manage talent and people development processes to one fifth (21 per cent) being unable to prove tangible value of talent practices.

On a more positive note, the report highlights that nearly 80 per cent of organisations plan to increase their investment in HR and talent technology. The report also demonstrates that onboarding, recruiting / talent acquisition, performance management, analytics and learning & development are leading the way. Nearly half the respondents (45 per cent) believe that artificial intelligence and robotics will be truly significant in their HR organisation in less than two years.

As Liam Butler, VP EMEA, SumTotal Systems commented: “SumTotal’s latest study with Fosway Group highlights that accelerating people’s careers by developing, challenging and growing their skills is now critical for all organisations, everywhere. With the changing future of work, and a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the importance of recruiting, developing and retaining the best people is more important than ever.”

Additional key findings of the research include:

  • Organisations are not making nearly enough progress when it comes to transforming talent management. Nearly all (96 per cent) have still to fully realise the advantages possible with digital transformation.
  • Only 9 per cent of organisations think their technology to support talent is fully ready for the modern workforce. Just over 20 per cent say their talent systems are not at all ready for the modern workforce.
  • When it comes to optimising talent, half of all organisations surveyed are either using spreadsheets or nothing at all.
  • HR’s inability to articulate the value add of its operation to real business results will hamper their success in the long-term: – Less than half (44 per cent) measure the impact of their talent strategies to tactical business objectives; – Only one quarter (25 per cent) establish the impact of talent approaches on individual and team performance; and – Around one fifth (21 per cent) have no measures of success for their talent practice.
  • Three quarters (76 per cent) expect to see an increase in HR tech and innovation. Investment is increasing in all areas of HR IT.

“Change in the nature of work and in the workforce continues to be big news, but companies are struggling to change their people and learning strategies fast enough to close widening gaps in talent and skills,” commented David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group. “This research highlights the need for HR, talent and learning to innovate faster and to focus on talent outcomes aligned with real business priorities.”

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