Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

Re-skilling' HR Among Top Challenges Facing Companies

May 2014 CoverThe top three challenges organizations face today are leadership development, employee retention and engagement, and “re-skilling” the HR function, according to a survey of 2,532 business and HR leaders at organizations in 94 countries.

More importantly, the organizations are not prepared to deal with the trends reshaping the workforce.

Only 13 percent of the survey respondents said their organizations are doing an “excellent” job of developing global leaders, according to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report released in March. And 66 percent said their ability to provide leadership programs for Millennials is “weak.”

“They don’t have the bench of leaders to execute their business strategies,” says Bill Pelster, managing principal of talent development at Deloitte. “Really great organizations look at leadership development holistically, and they realize it’s something that requires continuous investment year after year after year. It cannot be done episodically.”

Respondents also saw an urgent need to improve employee retention and engagement. More than one-third reported that their organizations are “weak” at integrating social, community and corporate programs and aligning employee and corporate goals. Some 40 percent scored their organizations low in helping employees balance their personal and professional lives.

“Re-skilling” HR teams was ranked as the third most urgent issue facing companies today. More than one-third of all respondents reported that their HR and talent programs are just “getting by” or even “underperforming.” Less than 8 percent of HR leaders said they were confident that their teams have the skills needed to meet the challenges of today’s global environment.

However, many organizations aren’t providing HR with the needed tools to do that. In the survey, 43 percent said their organizations are “weak” in providing appropriate training and experiences to HR, and 47 percent ranked their organizations low for preparing HR to deliver programs aligned with business needs.


Why Are Good Managers in Such Short Supply?

Companies fail to choose the right talent for manager positions 82 percent of the time, Gallup researchers have concluded.

Managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores, so bad managers can be blamed for the generally low morale of workers worldwide, according to James Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management. In 2012, Gallup released two studies showing that only 30 percent of U.S. workers are engaged at work.

“There are few people who have the critical mass of talent to motivate others, to be assertive when they need to and still make people feel comfortable by making tough decisions and holding people accountable while still building strong relationships,” Harter says. “Those things come naturally to some and less naturally to others.”

Overall, only 1 in 10 employees possess all the required traits to be a good manager. Only 18 percent of current managers have a high level of talent for the job, leaving 82 percent that don’t, Harter revealed in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post. Among current managers, 20 percent show a basic talent for it and can function at a higher level with coaching.

One reason those figures are so low is that most U.S. managers were chosen because they were good at their previous nonmanagerial roles—regardless of whether they possess the talent for managing, Harter says. Others are selected simply by virtue of their tenure.

His advice: “Make sure you’ve got an assessment that gives you predictive information as to whether someone is likely to fit that role or not.”

Hiring managers based on talent will improve engagement, which in turn will raise productivity and profitability, he says.​


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.