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Organisations want agile workers but fail to assess for agility, study finds

Organisations want agile workers but fail to assess for agility, study finds

New global study finds 86% of organisations believe agility is central to their business’ success, yet only 28% measure for it when assessing existing or potential employees. 

London, July 10, 2019 – In a global survey of 256 business leaders, HR professionals and industry experts that was carried out by Morgan Philips Talent Consulting in May, 2019, it was revealed that 85.8% of respondents agree that the agility of their workforce is central to their business’ success. A further 58% said their selection and development process is mapped to ensure they have individuals with agility to deliver their organisational strategy. 

View our infographic with all the survey results here.

However, only 28% of respondents currently measure for agility during the assessment of existing and potential employees (one fifth of respondents are unsure if they measure for agility while just over half do not measure at all). The survey also unveiled that 57% of respondents struggle to identify and recruit agile talent.

With less than one in five survey respondents describing their organisation as “stable”, the majority of businesses are growing, volatile or consolidating, indicating at a strong need for a more agile workforce. 

Talent Solutions Director at Morgan Philips Talent Consulting, Dr. Dane Poboka, says:

“Creating an agile workforce is clearly something that is playing on the minds of business leaders and HR professionals, but many are struggling to accurately determine what agility is, and more importantly, how to measure and develop it in their employees.”

According to our survey, the most commonly used method of assessing talent is through face-to-face assessments (69%), followed by performance appraisals (63.3%) and interviews (54.7%);  whereas the use of more objective and robust assessments such as online psychometrics, development reports, and remote and group assessments are significantly less common. 

When carrying out assessments on current and future talent, technical skills are the most commonly assessed skills at 60%, but interestingly, almost as many respondents said they assess for personality preferences, motivational drivers and potential, at 59%, 58% and 58% respectively.

“There is an obvious gap between the type of person organisations are looking to acquire and develop, and the assessment capabilities organisations have at their disposal,” says Dr. Poboka.

Crucial to creating an agile workforce is by investing in an environment where employees can make mistakes and learn from them, according to the survey respondents, with 92% of respondents agreeing with the statement: “Making mistakes and learning from them is a key component of agility.” However, only 59% of respondents said their organisations allow people to test, fail and grow. 

Morgan Philips Group CEO and Founder, Charles-Henri Dumon, says:

“In today’s rapidly changing and highly competitive business environment, it is crucial that organisations are investing in innovative new ideas, turning these ideas into viable products and going to market with a new offering. But in order for this to happen, you need an environment where employees are able to take risks by putting ideas into practice and learning from the outcomes – good or bad.”

“It is also crucial that organisations leverage assessment data from the selection process for on-boarding and development usage to ensure their ability to adapt and flex as needed.”

Read our new Executive Briefing: Agility – Unlocking the potential of Individuals and Teams.

About the survey

This survey was carried out during the months of April and May, 2019, through the cloud-based platform SurveyMonkey. This was an open survey, but the majority of responses came through our network of contacts. In total, we received 256 responses on a global scale, with responses coming in from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

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