54% Of Workers Plan To Quit Without More Flexible Hours And Locations


On the cusp of economic growth fueled by a huge wave of digitalisation, organisations in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are transforming talent management strategies to find the tech workers they need.

A recent EY study found that nine out of ten respondents worldwide, including workers from ANZ, wanted flexibility in their working hours and location. Fifty-four percent of employees were prepared to quit if they weren’t offered some form of flexibility. According to Thomas Barlow, head of SAP Fieldglass Centre of Excellence, Australia and New Zealand, the talent challenge is acute when it comes to tech employees.

“Technology permeates every part of an organisation, requiring people with new skills in areas like data science, AI, machine learning, blockchain, robotics, and IoT. Organisations need to build a global workforce that meets digitalised business demands,” said Barlow. “Workers with specialised expertise typically operate in a highly flexible, agile way. They’re likelier to be more mobile, in charge of managing their own learning experiences and careers. They also may not be located nearby.”

Complete talent pool data creates business resilience

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed how pandemic lockdowns have accelerated the skills shortage. Business Insider Australia reported one in four Australian businesses were struggling to find suitable staff to fill job vacancies. In a recent Covid Resilience Ranking from Bloomberg, Australia dropped 21 points compared to over 50 other major economies worldwide. To meet this workforce challenge, leaders are turning to connected data.

“As companies build more flexible, cross-border workforces, they need full transparency of all employees, including permanent and external workers,” said Barlow. “With complete workforce data, companies are better prepared to identify and deploy the right people with the right skills to support growth forecasts, or pivot quickly in case of unexpected disruptions like the pandemic.”

AI-based talent pools like WillHire have emerged to help organizations quickly match open positions with pre-qualified candidates from the global external labor pool. Integrated with SAP Fieldglass and available on the SAP Store, WillHire curates emerging talent who have the niche skills that support digital transformation.

Global people strategy is core to business execution

Historical talent strategies distinguished between permanent full-time employees and external workers who were typically hired to pitch in as a short-term business fix. With the advent of global marketplaces, talent strategies have transformed to flex with changing business demands.

“Companies need to embrace fluidity, looking at talent from the perspective of business results, as opposed to permanent versus contract workers,” said Marc Havercroft, global chief customer officer at SAP SuccessFactors. “For example, organizations using SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Fieldglass can easily see how many people work for the company irrespective of an end date on their contract. Data reveals where people are, what skills they have, and their work quality over time. Organisations can quickly identify gaps and find the additional specialists with the latest skills anywhere in the world.”

One SAP customer, an established ANZ-based financial services organization, needed to digitally transform to attract the next generation of customers. Using both SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Fieldglass, leaders sourced external tech experts to build digital services, pairing them with existing employees who shared their business knowledge while gaining new skills.

At the other end of the spectrum, a native digital banking start-up in ANZ relied on both SAP solutions to guide talent investments in business specialists with go-to-market and customer upselling and engagement capabilities. These experts rounded out the existing team’s tech-centric skills.

Employee experience attracts global talent pool

The same EY study found that worldwide, 72 percent of respondents believed remotely working would likely have a negative impact on their career opportunities. That percentage was higher (82 percent) among employees in Asia-Pacific. With greater visibility across the entire workforce, companies can create a strong employee experience in a hybrid ‘work from anywhere’ world.

“Full transparency into an organisation’s workforce capabilities and recruitment needs allows leaders to adopt a continuous learning culture with benefits to the business and employees,” said Havercroft. “People want to learn, making their work enjoyable and career secure. They want to be valued globally for their skills and knowledge, which is probably the biggest benefit of a global talent marketplace.”

Business resiliency demands new talent management strategies to match recruitment programs with forecasted growth opportunities, factoring in skills and roles that might not exist yet, but are surely on the horizon. For example, SAP’s recent acquisition of SwoopTalent’s IP, an AI-based talent data platform, will allow companies to explore ‘what if’ scenarios, combining real-world total workforce data to improve ROI on talent investments and other decisions as businesses evolve. Massive growth from digitalisation is all well and good. Just make sure you have the business and tech experts on hand to power it.

This article originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.