The Gartner survey, conducted from June through August 2020, found the other top HR priorities for 2021 are organizational design and change management (46 percent), current and future leadership bench (44 percent), the future of work (32 percent) and employee experience (28 percent).
HR leaders will need to lead the following initiatives to drive business outcomes.
Taking a new approach to reskilling
Organizations need to take a dynamic approach to reskilling and redeploying talent in which all impacted stakeholders work together to sense shifting skill needs and find ways to develop skills at the time of need. Currently, only 21 percent of HR leaders say peers share accountability or partner with HR to determine future skill needs. A dynamic approach to reskilling enables faster identification of skills needs, and employees apply 75 percent of the new skills they learn.
Redesigning work for responsiveness
Thirty-seven percent of HR leaders surveyed by Gartner report that their organization’s managers aren’t equipped to lead change. Further, in 2020, the amount of change that the average employee can absorb without becoming fatigued has been cut in half compared to 2019.
HR leaders need to focus on future-forward work design that eliminates the work friction that frustrates employees today and allows employees to be responsive, in sync with customer needs, in a position to anticipate changes in those needs, and able to adapt their approach and activities accordingly.
Solving the leadership gap
More than one-third of HR leaders surveyed by Gartner report that their succession management processes don’t yield the right leaders at the right time, while only 44 percent of employees say they trust their organization’s leaders and managers to navigate a crisis well.
Confidence and trust in leadership is also undermined by the lack of diversity, as nearly 50 percent of HR leaders report that their organization’s leadership bench is not diverse. Organizations that implement diversity networking programs are 3.4 times more likely to report they are effective at increasing opportunities for talent mobility.