PwC: Middle East Faces Lag in Talent Management

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Dubai - MENA Herald: PwC Middle East revealed findings of its first ever talent management survey, ‘Strategy, Talent and Leadership’, which assesses the various challenges that human resources (HR) professionals face in the region. Having polled 248 Chief Human Resources Officers (CHRO) across the Middle East, PwC found that only a few companies in the region have a strategic link between their business objectives and HR management practise.
The ‘Strategy, Talent and Leadership’ report took a closer look into challenges that CHROs face, including supporting strategy, talent management and nurturing leadership, in addition to productivity performance, and how best to encourage innovation. Although the Middle East is home to a growing pool of diverse talent, including females and millennials, an ever-growing proportion of the workforce born between 1980 and 1995 and expected to account for 50% of it by 2020, the region is still struggling to adapt talent management systems to strategically serve organisational objectives and industry changes.
David Suarez, People & Organisation Leader, PwC Middle East, commented, “Oil prices seem to have settled at about $45-50/bbl, about 50% of what they were two years ago. This oil price pressure presents companies with a special challenge as they try to adapt to budget cuts while also investing in attracting and retaining talent in manners that are most efficient and effective. To succeed in the future, companies should avoid the knee-jerk reaction to stop investing in attracting and developing talent. HR professionals need to do more with less, taking full advantage of digital technology and data management to identify talent and leadership potential early on (both within and outside the company), and develop end-to-end employee value propositions that are flexible, adapted as much as possible to individual needs, catering not only to their financial and career development aspirations, but also other factors (e.g. purpose and impact) that maximize motivation and engagement.”
To overcome current industry challenges, such as reduced liquidity in the region, PwC recommends that companies ensure their HR policies and practices are re-aligned with corporate strategy, and that there is a clearer, explicit link to demonstrate the contribution of HR to the business. Additionally, companies are urged to become innovative in sourcing and nurturing talent, and increasing talent productivity amidst a suboptimal socioeconomic climate with strict cost parameters. Finally, PwC stresses the importance of becoming more flexible in creating and promoting a pool of local leaders for the future.
David Suarez added, “Despite improvements vs. earlier times, there is still a frequent disconnect between HR strategy and the business strategy. The HR function in the region continues to mature towards a “business partnering” model, and away from a mere transactional or administrative role. However, there is evidence that HR is still not completely up to speed when it comes to having a clear understanding of the business or its requirements, as well as delivering fully on what the business needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackle the various challenges faced by HR professionals in the region. Our report calls for tighter connection between HR and the business, focus on identifying leadership and talent potential early, and the use of HR analytics to increase motivation, engagement and productivity in a challenging economy”.
PwC’s work with companies in the region has allowed the People & Organisation’s team to identify the following five areas where organisations in the Middle East can make their HR functions more strategic, effective, and closely aligned with their corporate goals:
1. Focus on early identification and nurturing of leadership and key talent;
2. Make more use of HR Analytics to gain greater insights into what makes people engaged and motivated;
3. Tailor your HR practices to what your business needs, making sure that HR “earns a seat at the table”;
4. Understand what talent you need to continue to invest in the future, despite cost pressures; and
5. Create a culture where innovation thrives.

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