Market Pulse: Key Issues from our Coaches

April 19, 2024

Business leaders face unprecedented challenges that make achieving their goals extremely difficult. Leading organizational development consultants and coaches consistently surface key themes that every business leader faces and are too important to ignore.

HR leaders are stretched incredibly thin.

Companies have had to deal with a lot of external pressures over the past several years, including a worldwide pandemic, supporting hybrid work, emergence of AI-enabled technologies, inflationary pressures, and geopolitical unrest.  

Amid all this turmoil, HR leaders are expected to innovate quickly, keep their employees engaged, and align with broader organizational objectives. Too often, the strategic impact of their people spend and initiatives are under appreciated and undervalued by the C-suite.

Career mobility is the norm.

In the past companies may have been able to rely on long-term employees to maintain stability during times of change. Today, most employees do not expect to stay with their employer over long periods of time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure for workers between 25 to 34 years old is only 2.8 years. Given the expected mobility of this growing employee cohort, it’s imperative that HR leaders, especially in the hyper-competitive technology industry, generate as much creativity and productivity from short-tenured, highly talented employees as possible. And even when it looks like the right person joins the team, 30% of new hires leave within 90 days.    

Gen Z is different (and it matters).

Employees born between 1995 and 2009 – also known as Gen Z – are expected to represent 27 percent of the workforce by 2025. As the first generation to have grown up entirely in the digital age, their expectations of employers are higher and different than previous generations. Empowerment and flexibility are key themes in career decisions, and work-life balance is prioritized over climbing the career ladder. In their search for purpose, Gen Z employees are much more likely to quit without another job lined up than their elder peers.  

Front-line managers carry a big load but may not be fully prepared for success.

Businesses rely heavily on front-line managers for many critical day-to-day operations and making sure organizational objectives, goals, and plans are met and implemented. Their effectiveness as leaders is directly tied to their team’s success and to overall employee engagement levels. However, as many as 50% of all managers in organizations are rated as ineffective.  

First-time managers may be promoted due to their technical expertise, but they may not have the requisite leadership capability, nor the skills required to succeed as a manager. When they are not prepared properly, managers may endure stress, burnout, and isolation. Lacking adequate training and preparation, these newly minted managers face an uphill challenge, often leading them to micromanage their direct reports, fail to build a positive team culture, or make plans to leave.  

AI is in every conversation.

It is increasingly difficult to find a discussion or article about human resources without at least some mention of artificial intelligence (AI). The presence and possibility of incorporating AI into HR practices is disrupting many established views of work, talent, roles, and skills.  

As people leaders attempt to stay current, an overwhelming number of AI-enabled tools have emerged, which requires focus on the most urgent problems to be solved so that investments are made wisely. Companies also struggle to hire top talent to manage AI, often paying more or using alternative methods to find the right candidates. More HR-related data is available today than ever before, but organizations need the systems and skills to turn information into insights that guide sound decision-making.  

Many organizations underinvest in HR and people development.  

With the increasingly high cost of disengaged employees and turnover, one would think organizations would invest heavily to hire, engage, and retain top talent. However, relative to other functional areas, HR receives one of the lowest investments, accounting for 1.52% of operating expenses on average. Organizations investing in people development and related infrastructure seek to improve overall employee engagement, which improves workforce productivity and profitability.  

Driving performance from the inside out

People are at the heart of every organization’s success. When leaders connect people with work they love, it bridges the divide between organizational and personal purpose, and results in breakthrough performance. In the face of all these issues, tru Certified Coaches are a strategic resource for people leaders to help drive performance from the inside out.  

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