Unformatted text preview: nizations 45 Note to the Reader 47 C P A Executive Summary T he challenges of leading and managing people
were complicated by the ﬁnancial crisis and
global recession. The crisis layered in a new level
of volatility and uncertainty on top of the accelerating change that most businesses were already experiencing. Companies that don’t adapt to the new
state of high volatility will be rendered obsolete by more nimble and ﬂexible rivals—and the key variables for adaptation
are the quality of the workforce and how it is deployed.
It’s no longer feasible to conceive a strategy in an executive
ivory tower and expect a docile workforce to implement it. Innovation and growth today require creativity and engagement by employees at all levels. This survey report details
those human resources practices and methodologies that enable companies to create competitive advantage—and those
that are no longer suited to these times. This global survey is the second conducted by The
Boston Consulting Group and the World Federation
of People Management Associations. The ﬁrst was
completed in 2008. (BCG has also partnered with the
European Association for People Management in
2007 and 2009 on a similar European survey.)
◊ The online survey generated 5,561 responses (nearly
one-ﬁh more than our 2008 survey) from 109 countries covering ﬁve continents and numerous industries.
We also interviewed more than 150 executives, mostly
board and executive committee members of multinational companies.
◊ This report presents our ﬁndings and analysis of the 21
topics covered. We also feature short case studies on
individual company initiatives or relevant research,
and we have produced a White Paper, inserted at the back of this report, on the pivotal role that middle
managers play in restoring employee engagement that
was weakened during the crisis.
Most industries and countries will experience a widening talent gap, notably for highly skilled positions
and for the next generation of middle and senior
◊ Populations in most developed countries such as Japan, Germany, and the United States will skew sharply
older in the coming decade, barring radical changes in
immigration policies. The upcoming waves of baby
boomer retirements may cause many positions to go
unﬁlled and raise the risk that companies will lose
valuable institutional and process knowledge. Rapid
growth in many emerging nations, meanwhile, has already created a gap in skills that population growth
alone cannot ameliorate.
◊ Revising public policy to facilitate labor mobility
would help, but companies have to seize control of
their own fate when it comes to securing the best
workforce today and for the future. They need to ramp
up their talent-sourcing, retention, and development
practices now, before it’s too late.
Four HR topics stand out as the most critical.
◊ Managing talent—identifying, attracting, and retaining
talent—continues to be the most important future HR
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