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IBM study says companies need to reexamine how HR works

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IBM in Armonk this morning released a new survey by its Institute for Business Value showing that fewer than 40% of the human resources (HR) executives who participated said they have the skills needed to achieve their enterprise strategy.

The survey also showed that Covid-19 has resulted in a disconnect between what executives and employees think about whether employees have the skills to work in new ways during the pandemic.

IBM reported that 74% of executives surveyed believe their employers have been helping them learn the skills needed to work in a new way. Non-executive employees, however, had a different view, with just 38% agreeing with the premise.

The split also was reflected in 80% of executives surveyed saying their company is supporting employees’ physical and emotional health, while only 46% of non-executive employees surveyed agreed.

The study found that HR departments at high-performing companies with higher profitability, revenue growth and innovation are using technology including artificial intelligence to help build their workforces.

“Historically, HR departments have largely been administrative. They take responsibility for hiring, pay, compliance, and basic job design,” the survey said. “Today, however, as we recover from the pandemic, companies need HR to focus on the employee experience and drive reskilling, cultural transformation, and an evolution to new models of work. As our research clearly shows, companies that make this evolution far outperform their peers–especially in this time of business reinvention.”

The IBM survey suggested, “What enterprises need now is a sustainable workforce. Just as energy sustainability requires shifting from resources that are extracted, used and exhausted to renewable ones, an enterprise cultivates a sustainable workforce by shifting its view of employees from a resource to be tapped as needed to one that is cared for, protected and nourished.”

More than 1,500 global human resources executives in 20 countries and 15 industries participated in the study. IBM said the study showed that many companies need to reinvent the way in which their human resources activities take place and develop the technology to make more real-time, data-driven decisions.

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