South African businesses are not agile, say executives

"In an age where digitisation, robotics and AI are wreaking havoc with traditional business models, it is easy for executives to focus on superior technology as the solution to ensuring the competitiveness of their organisations and to overlook the human element," said Ilya Bonic (pictured), President of Mercer's Career business.

Growth rests on engaging and empowering today’s workforce in ways that we are just beginning to uncover, Bonic added. “It takes employees armed with the right skills and opportunities to develop innovative solutions to advance the business and themselves.”

According to the 2017 Global Talent Trends Study, which examines the top trends impacting today’s workforce and how organisations are responding, and which included insights from 462 perspectives in South Africa, 100 percent of South African organisations surveyed and some 93 percent of organisations globally reported that they are planning to redesign their structure in the next two years. That said, the South African business executives surveyed claim their organisations are not “change agile”.

Mercer’s study uncovered four trends that are shaping the outlook for this year:

  1. Growth by design: The C-suite’s change agenda to drive growth
  2. The quest for insight: Analytics will be a key player in winning the war for talent
  3. A shift in what we value: Recognizing what matters most to employees
  4. A workplace for me: Continued focus on personalisation and flexibility.

Kate Bravery, Global Leader for Mercer’s Career business, said:

“Organisations need to prioritise a culture of agility to stay ahead of rapidly changing market trends. Those employers that empower their workforce – by helping them plan for the unknown, mitigate risk, and thrive at work – will be more successful in building a responsive and successful organisation.”

Despite the desire to cling to more traditional methods, the landscape for the workplace, the workforce, and the future of work are changing too quickly and drastically to do so, Bravery added. “To stay competitive, it is imperative that business executives and HR leaders collaborate and that organisations take new approaches to how employees access knowledge, adapt to technology, manage, communicate, and leverage their careers,” she said.