Broader oversight of culture and talent in a transforming labor market

Theme 3

Talent oversight: 10 questions boards should consider as they oversee the talent strategy in 2022

Technological advances continue to transform operating models and ways of working and living, reshaping stakeholder expectations, requiring companies to accelerate their digital ambitions and expand worker flexibility to create competitive advantage.  

As a result, companies are upskilling and reskilling their workforces and putting people and culture at the core of value creation.

Below, the EY Center for Board Matters offers 10 questions that boards should consider as they oversee the talent strategy in 2022.

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▉ Question 1

As the nature of work and employment further transforms, how will the organization adapt its talent functions to realize its strategy?

Does the board spend the same amount of time with the chief human resources officer (CHRO) discussing data and metrics to assess the health and welfare of the workforce as it does with the CFO reviewing and assessing the overall financial health and stability?

 Question 2

To attract and retain talent in a hypercompetitive labor market, how is the organization implementing plans to address calls for better pay and benefits, including flexibility, the opportunity to work from anywhere, programs to enhance well-being, and funding for training and educational advancement?


  • + Read more#- Read less

    Nearly 20 million US workers have quit their jobs since April 2021. In addition, over 40% of employees across the globe and multiple industries are considering leaving their current job this year. Keep reading.

    Companies are facing increased competition to attract and retain a skilled workforce, exacerbated by employees campaigning on issues such as health and safety and issues of diversity and inclusiveness. Keep reading.

 Question 3

How have the desired skills and behaviors for the organization’s leaders evolved in response to the events of the last two years?

How has the board’s succession planning and oversight of talent development changed in response?


  • + Read more#- Read less

    Three-fourths (75%) of CEOs see empathy and soft skills coming to the fore as key management capabilities in the next five years. Keep reading.

 Question 4

Given that more than half of employees say they would leave their job if flexibility in their schedule and work location is not extended after the pandemic, has the organization considered how to make flexibility integral to the company’s human capital strategy?

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    Flexibility is a new normal. Employees love and embrace the flexibility that tech-enabled remote work has made possible: nine in 10 regard flexibility as “extremely important.” Fifty-four percent say they would leave their company if flexibility in schedule and work location is not extended post-pandemic. Keep reading

 Question 5

How is the company seizing strategic opportunities to tap into larger talent pools?

How can it diversify across numerous dimensions and expand working hours across time zones, while being mindful of work location, regulatory and legislative challenges?


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    In many cases, employees can now choose where they live independently from where they work, enabling organizations to tap into larger talent pools to find the right skills for open positions. Keep reading.

    The emphasis on talent acquisition, buttressed by the reality that employees can work from anywhere, means companies will need to update their practices and learn to fish in different pools. The upside is the ability to cast a wider net; the downside is there will be greater competition for qualified talent, as there are no longer geographic limits. Keep reading.

 Question 6

Is the board comfortable with how the organization is nurturing its existing and future talent pools (e.g., reskilling and upskilling, educational alliances) to position the company to meet current requirements, address enterprise risks and prepare for continued strategic pivots?

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    • According to research from the World Economic Forum, by 2025, automation may displace 85 million jobs through a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines. The World Economic Forum has labeled this upcoming period the “Reskilling Revolution.” Within the same timeframe, 97 million new roles may emerge to address the shift.
    • Companies can reskill and upskill their current people via continuous learning, allowing them to personalize their careers like a playlist.
    • Organizations anticipate that approximately 40% of workers will require reskilling in the next six months or less. Moreover, 94% of organizations say that they expect employees to learn these new skills on the job — a 29 percentage point increase from just two years ago.

    Keep reading

    94 percent chart

 Question 7

How is company leadership enabling cross-functional collaboration and seeking input from a broader set of internal constituencies to support an inclusive culture, enhance engagement and spur innovation?

How are these efforts measured?

  • + Read more#- Read less

    While agility, innovation and diversity are critical to thriving, culture shortcomings are key barriers to these objectives: only 44% of CEOs affirm having an innovation mindset across the organization. In comparison, 32% say mid-level leadership personally models shared purpose and vision. A meager 28% say they create diverse and inclusive teams at all levels. Keep reading.

 Question 8

Are there any efforts to identify and address disconnects between how management views the employee experience and the employee’s actual experience?

Are employee engagement scores, periodic pulse checks, summaries of exit and onboarding interviews, and social media data routinely reviewed?

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    “Many leaders are simply disconnected from the realities of work and from the realities of the people they employ to do it."

    Employees and HR have different views of the employee experience. For long-term success, organizations will need to close this gap. Keep reading.

 Question 9

With continued virtual work, how is the company addressing any impacts on employee engagement, inclusion and career development?

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    A clearly defined corporate purpose, which reinforces and builds upon a strong corporate culture, will allow employees based both at home and in the office to make decisions that align with the organization’s long-term goals and boost agility and resilience while providing the flexibility needed to retain a skilled workforce. Keep reading.

 Question 10

How is the company embedding diversity and inclusion into its workplace policies and human capital management programs throughout all steps in the employee life cycle to enable equitable opportunities, advancement and compensation?

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    As talent moves through the workforce, human capital management programs can enable equitable opportunity, learning, advancement, compensation, and reward for all diverse talent. The life cycle should provide, early on, a tangible sense of belonging — as discussed below — for all the company’s people to fully realize their potential and value. Keep reading.

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Board priorities for 2022

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Strategy and Innovation

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Risk and resiliency

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Dynamic governance

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