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Human capital trends

EMEA and Global: more similar than you think


In a recent survey conducted with business leaders and human resources (HR) executives world-wide, almost identical top five trends were identified and similar top three HR and Talent concerns were noted. While each region has its own specifics and challenges, the below highlights more commonality than difference in what is driving the HR and Talent agenda today.


Top leading trends

The challenge for any organization, on the most basic level, is having the right leadership and people with the right skill sets in the company when you need them. In practical terms, this means HR needs to be embedded in the business and anticipate what programs they need to execute for their business strategy and this will vary based on the business. Regardless of the business model however, there is a need to shift away from the basics of HR operations and employee relations in order to break the cycle of ineffective programs that lack focus on direct organizational benefits or that solve business problems.

The trends that emerged as most highly relevant today (currently shaping – or should be shaping – talent and HR strategies and programs) include:

  • The war to develop talent: the talent management trend is switching from recruitment to development.
  • Transforming HR to meet new business priorities: HR transformation efforts are continuing to shift their focus to business priorities, concentrating on areas such as talent, emerging markets and the HR organization.
  • How boards are changing the HR game: to seize new opportunities for sustainable growth and manage heightened risks, boards of directors at highperforming organizations are pulling Chief Human Resources Officers much deeper into business strategy – and far earlier in the process.
  • Organization acceleration: faced with tougher, more numerous challenges, today’s organizations are demanding more from their change initiatives by pursuing strategies that are customized, precise, and sustainable.
  • Leadership.Next: yesterday’s leadership theories are not keeping pace with the velocity of today’s disruptive marketplace. Organizations are seeking a new model for the age of agility.

Besides a difference in order of rank, the focus of EMEA and Global are almost identical.

One trend highlighted as of high relevance today by the smaller number of ME participants is “Branding the workplace” which focuses on enhancing the talent value proposition and innovating the talent brand. Talent brand and corporate brand are two sides of the same coin. Social media has erased whatever lines used to exist between them.

Top three HR and Talent concerns

When executives were asked about the most pressing talent and HR concerns facing them today, for Global as well as EMEA, the top three turned out to be identical. EMEA executives are almost equally concerned about “developing leaders and succession planning” (49 percent) and “sustaining employee engagement” (46 percent). Global executives are even more concerned about leadership development than their EMEA counterparts; more than half of the executives (55 percent) reported that “developing leaders and succession planning” is their top concern.

One of the pressing concerns is sustaining employee engagement/morale which could indicate the high priority of the first leading trend of EMEA, “the war to develop talent.” In addition, connecting HR and talent wih business critical priorities is a concern which is linked to a leading trend called “transforming HR to meet new business priorities.”

It is worth noting that the executives who participated in the survey appear to recognize 2013 as a pivot point in terms of economic expectations, with recession fears fading and optimism growing, while their Gulf counterparts were already in the optimism mode.


Given that the key global trends and issues are identical across the regions, looking at how others are tackling their HR and Talent issues should enlighten executives into solving their own in a more effective way. Even small missteps can have big unintended consequences so paying attention to these trends can spell the difference between success and failure.


by Ghassan Turqieh, partner, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East




1 Deloitte, (2013) Resetting horizons: human capital trends 2013. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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