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Employers are investing more in talent but it's not effective, says Mercer

Employers are investing more money in talent, but much of it is proving ineffective, according to the latest Talent Barometer survey from Mercer.

The survey showed that 60% of organisations worldwide have reported increasing their investment in talent in recent years, however only 24% said their plans are highly effective in meeting immediate and long-term human capital needs.

It also found that while 77% of those surveyed have a strategic workforce plan in place, only 12% have plans that extend for five years or more.

"Effective workforce planning is an essential part of positioning talent as a strategic asset and maintaining a competitive business advantage," said Julio A. Portalatin, president and CEO of Mercer.

"With the information and data analytics available today, employers can measure and manage their talent like never before. The question is whether the increased attention and efforts deliver the intended results."

The survey also explores key accelerators of talent effectiveness - education, health and wellness, and career experience - and their impact on successful workforce practices.

Significantly, more than half (57%) of the organisations surveyed are not confident that educational institutions will generate the talent needed by their businesses today.

"This lack of qualified talent is a real concern for employers and one that requires a multi-stakeholder approach to solving. We have found companies that are most optimistic about the future are actively involved in shaping it," said Pat Milligan, region president at Mercer.

He added: "As a result of this educational gap, the survey shows organisations are employing internships, apprenticeships, and teaching high-demand skills in secondary and tertiary institutions."

As for health and wellness, the survey finds that less than half of organisations worldwide actively apply the basic elements of a health management program, such as ensuring a healthy workplace and establishing health-related policies and procedures (as reported by 48% and 44% of organisations, respectively).

And less than one-third (31%) actively use a formal, written multi-year strategic plan for health and wellness.

Dave Rahill, president, Mercer health and benefits, said: "The research suggests a strong link between employers' focus on health and wellness and employee engagement and productivity. This means that employers are missing out on one of the greatest tools available to enhance their strategic workforce plans."

Mercer's Talent Barometer survey assesses the effectiveness of workforce practices in driving the short- and long-term success of organisations' talent plans by region and industry.

The survey includes responses from HR and talent management executives at more than 1,260 organisations around the globe, from a wide variety of sectors.