Press release: Mercer reveals post-Covid-19 talent trends for business growth and change


Mercer says companies need to develop HR strategies in step with the new reality.

If companies and organisations are to navigate through the economic crisis sustainably and cost-effectively, they need to define future workforce needs and sustainably restructure their operations, according to the South African edition of Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2020-2021.

The report highlights four trends that South Africa companies are embracing to navigate the future:

  • A new multi-stakeholder model that encompasses transparency and empathy;
  • Reskilling to transform the workforce for a new world economy;
  • Harnessing the power of data; and
  • Redesigning the work experience to inspire and invigorate employees.

While these trends emerged in 2020 as companies dealt with the pandemic, they have proven to be critical in shaping the future of businesses.

Tamara Parker, CEO for Mercer South Africa, says, “Many South African companies have realised that life will never be the same again post-Covid-19. Business survival will, to a large extent, depend on how companies and organisations embrace the future, use technology, invest in skilling and re-skilling employees, develop tailor-made employee benefits, incorporate mental well-being into HR models, develop sustainable working models, and embed environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in business models."

Tamara added: “Up to 67 percent of the companies surveyed are already building ESG goals into their broader transformation agendas, significantly more than the global average (45 percent), while one in five organisations (20 percent) is embedding ESG metrics into executive scorecards.

As a result, in-depth conversations on such issues as developing people practices that will endure after the pandemic and discovering sustainable, flexible employee models that can be the basis for growth or reinvention, have started.

Tesantha Naidoo, senior associate, Mercer, says the race to reskill for a new world economy is on and asserts that, “Companies and organisations should identify skills that will be needed in the future and share this information with employees. Sharing information also means creating pathways for employees to fill future roles in an organisation.”

Keletjo Chiloane, also a senior associate at Mercer added that, “Big data is going to be the centrepiece of programmes to re-engage employees. She says 38 percent of the companies surveyed want to enable digital health check-ups to promote health goals.”

Mental and emotional well-being at the workplace is an area receiving more attention, with a third of those surveyed planning  to introduce a mental well-being strategy, and just under 30 percent relaying  plans to train managers to spot mental health issues before they became cause for concern.

Companies are reviewing how they will embrace technology, incorporate sustainability into business models, and invest more in employee well-being, benefits and engagement.