In a global climate of economic uncertainty, organisations must be able to adapt to near-constant change. But our latest research finds that in some organisations there is an acceleration gap—where the pace of the change that creates new opportunities is undermined by an organisation’s ability to capitalise on it.
Very often, it is skill shortages and talent issues that are holding them back, and chief human resources officers (CHROs) in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) are particularly concerned about the acceleration gap:
Only 27% are confident about the alignment of their workforce’s skills and future business needs, compared with 37% of CHROs in EMEA and 45% in North America.
Only 27% are confident about their ability to accelerate transformation across the wider organisation—falling to as low as 20% in Singapore—compared with 37% globally.
Pete Schlampp, chief strategy officer at Workday, says that these organisations now need to become more strategic: “Step back, and ask where you need to be as a business five years from now. Then apply your resources where you're going to get the most return—which are the skills that you need to focus on, either acquiring from outside or transforming your own people.”
APJ’s CHROs Have Started Well
The good news is that many CHROs in APJ have started to recalibrate their skills and talent management. Already, 70% say they are on track or running ahead when it comes to providing the talent the organisation needs to support new initiatives.
And the region’s organisations are more likely than those in EMEA and North America to be investing in new technology to make sure that workforce skills evolve in line with the organisation’s needs. For example, 59% of CHROs are prioritising investment in technology to unify financial, people, and operational data, and 44% plan to invest in improved access to quality, usable data, compared with 34% and 32% in North America respectively.
But there is more work to do. “HR is always a catalyst,” says Bilal Waris, head HR Centre of Excellence and operations at AirAsia. “Our role is to be the architects of curating that ecosystem and to really understand what components we have, and which ones to drive more.”
Again, new technologies play a crucial role, says Waris. Organisations should be investing in talent management programs that track the skills and experience of the workforce to make sure that gaps are filled and succession-planning is strategic. “Unless you build these data points by designing the system to help managers make the right decisions,” warns Waris. “There's no value of data and there's no value of succession-planning.”
APJ’s HR leaders agree: 46% say that a positive employee experience can help accelerate transformation across the wider organisation, and 41% say that an increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion can have a similar impact. They also see a broader role for technology: 39% say that investing in scalable learning and development will unlock transformation benefits.
CHROs Need to Keep Up the Momentum
To avoid significant competitive disadvantage, organisations need to act now, and that includes the HR function. Already, 54% of APJ organisations warn of a growing gap between where their business stands and where it needs to be in order to compete. CHROs will play a vital role in closing that gap.
Download the full report “Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation” for more findings from the office of the CFO, CIO, and CHRO.