Workforce Agility is the Key to Future Success, say 84% of Companies in Singapore: Aon Survey

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Changing market demands due to COVID-19 are driving organisations to evaluate reskilling their workforce.

 

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 23
September 2020 –  Aon plc (NYSE:
AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of
risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the results of a new global
pulse survey focused on how companies are rethinking their human capital
strategies in response to the humanitarian and economic impacts of the novel
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The
COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to evaluate employees beyond their current roles and look closely at employee potential,
capability, and most importantly, adaptability to change. Building an agile
workforce has emerged as a top priority for human resources (HR) and business
leaders.

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Aon
conducted the survey of 415 HR leaders and professionals in Singapore from 17
August to 25 August 2020, called “Accelerating Workforce Agility and Resilience.”
Eighty four percent of respondents said that an agile workforce, defined as quickly
assigning new roles to employees to support changing business needs, is now
more important to the success of their business than ever before. However, only
38% currently view their workforces as agile.

“This
workforce agility gap between what employees can handle today versus what will
be required of them in the near future is a major challenge for companies
across industries,” said Na Boon Chong, Managing Director and Partner, Human
Capital, Southeast Asia, Aon. “The main issue that businesses are facing today
is reskilling the workforce in the right way. At the same time, the ease of remote working tells us that closing off
borders to talent is not the
solution.”

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If agile is the way of the future, are Singapore companies future-ready?

As more
companies plan to extend their remote working arrangements, three-quarters of
all respondents said they are investing in new tools and technology to improve
productivity and collaboration. More than half of the respondents are also providing
employees with wellbeing tools and programmes.

 

Additionally,
46% of survey respondents said that their companies have enhanced or are
considering enhancing allowances and reimbursements to cover mobile phone,
internet and home office expenses.

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While
the above measures go beyond simply identifying the roles that can or cannot
work remotely, companies are still unsure of exactly how their working models
need to change. During a recent meeting of Aon’s Work, Travel and Convene
Coalition that included Singapore’s leading companies, several Coalition
members emphasized the need to quantify the impact of remote work, observing
that most Singapore companies have not yet started measuring remote productivity
relative to pre-pandemic times.

 

Enhancing
remote work arrangements will create new types of productivity measurements,
especially around collaboration metrics, that are more suited to the agile
workforce of the future. This was echoed by 84% of survey respondents who said
that assessing employees for adaptability, collaboration and communications
skills is extremely important in the current business climate.

 

“Creating
agile workforces across industries will include data analysis, segmentation of
the workforce, and a sustained period of experimentation, until the right mix
of technology and human capital can be achieved,” said Alexander Krasavin,
Partner and Regional Commercial Head, Human Capital, APAC & MEA, Aon.
“Remote working has highlighted the massive shift in working models, bringing into
sharper focus the issue of agility. Various sectors are thinking about these
things differently — some are using data and questioning how to make remote
work better. Others, such as technology companies, have taken a more bottom-up
approach.”

 

When
work is no longer a place you go, talent searches can become more inclusive

When
remote work is no longer a benefit but a norm, the talent acquisition process
is opening up to a global pool of candidates, making the correlation between
remote workforces and diversity clear to HR leaders.

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Attracting
and retaining diverse employees ranked third among the top 10 factors needed to
build and maintain an agile workforce, according to Aon’s survey. In addition, 87%
of respondents felt that an inclusive work culture was important, ahead of
factors such as identifying employees with digital skills, introducing new
career paths, or developing flexible compensation programmes.

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To
enable an inclusive work culture, 66% of survey respondents say their companies
are prepared to support working parents who may not have access to childcare
facilities. However, these efforts are currently tied to enhancing Employee
Assistance Programs (EAPs). More broadly, 33% of survey respondents indicated
that their companies have changed, or are actively considering changing, their
time-off policies in response to the pandemic. Among these companies, 28%
created additional emergency paid leave policies beyond what is required by law
to cover caregiving, illness or quarantining in 2020. Another 8% created
policies covering both 2020 and 2021, and 2% created permanent policies.

Efforts
to create an inclusive workplace, among many others, are believed to improve
workforce resilience. “The COVID-19 pandemic has raised important questions,
such as should businesses widen the scope of social responsibility by partnering
more with the government to pay for some of the externalities? Is resilience
more important than efficiency?” observed Na Boon Chong. Addressing these
questions will create the right kind of resilient and agile workforce − one
that makes the future of Singapore a ‘new better’.

For additional
Aon insights on how companies can support workforce resilience, please visit: aon.com/risingresilient.

 

Additional survey findings

 

For
complete study results by region and industry, including additional data on
performance management practices, rewards programmes, workforce actions
including layoffs and furloughs, the state of hiring, and adjustments to
time-off policies, click here.

This document has been provided as an informational resource for
Aon clients and business partners. It is intended to provide general guidance
on potential exposures and is not intended to provide medical advice or address
medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Due to the dynamic nature of
infectious diseases, Aon cannot be held liable for the guidance provided. Aon
strongly encourages readers to seek additional safety, medical and
epidemiologic information from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. In regard to insurance
coverage questions, whether coverage applies, or if a policy will respond to
any risk or circumstance is subject to the specific terms and conditions of the
policies and contracts at issue and underwriter determination.

 

This press release provides general information and data as an
informational resource. Readers should not use this report as a replacement for
legal, tax, accounting or other consulting advice that is specific to the facts
and circumstances of their business. Aon encourages all readers to consult with
appropriate advisors before acting on any of the information contained in this
press release and accompanying reporting.


About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:
AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of
risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries
empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver
insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

 

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Workforce Agility is the Key to Future Success, say 84% of Companies in Singapore: Aon Survey

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