SINGAPORE (Feb 27): Fostering human connections is a significant factor in retaining employees who value job security, especially in Singapore.

This is according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study, which surveys over 7,300 senior business executives, human resources (HR) leaders and employees from nine key industries across 16 geographies around the world.

Based on its Singapore-focused findings, job security is one of the top three reasons cited by employees for joining an organisation. Yet, 50% of them said they were concern that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation would eventually replace their current roles.

Notably, thriving employees – i.e. those who are already prospering in the areas of health, wealth and career – in Singapore were found to be three times as likely to describe their roles as “relationship-focused”, and twice as likely to describe their work as “collaborative”. The way Mercer sees it, this underscores the importance of fostering human connections among the Singapore workforce.  

The report also highlighted that thriving employees are twice as likely to work for an organisation that enables quick decision-making (80% versus 41%), and nearly three times more likely for an organisation that provides the necessary tools and resources for them to do their job efficiently (80% versus 30%).

Other retention factors cited include setting personalised and simplified professional development plans, as 50% of employee respondents asked for curated learning as a means to help them evolve their skills and prepare them for future jobs.

As this is closely linked to technology, Mercer also highlights the survey finding that high-growth firms in Singapore are also twice as likely to provide a fully-digital employee experience, or close to it, as moderate-growth firms in the city state (65% versus 30%).

While two-thirds of employee respondents in Singapore are also asking for more clearly-defined responsibilities, Mercer highlights that job redesign remains low on the C-suite agenda, with only a sixth of executives in Singapore saying doing so would have a sizeable impact on their company’s business performance.  

From the HR perspective, employee morale is seen as a significant barrier to making changes that come with organisational transformation initiatives stick.

‘Employee attrition’ and ‘decline in employee trust’ were two of the top five challenges cited by HR respondents for the year ahead.

“Enabling quick decision-making as well as providing employees tools and resources for them to do their job efficiently are just some of the ‘must-dos’ for an organisation to retain its top talent… These findings point to the need for transformation efforts to focus on people-centered design and better talent metrics to understand how people are experiencing and embracing change,”says Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s Career business.