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SA Employers Encouraged To Get Ahead Of Future Workforce Trends

07 November 2018Momentum Corporate

The face of South Africa’s workforce is changing. In 2013, 39% of employees who had employer-provided benefits with Momentum Corporate were millennials, but today – just five years later – millennials make up the majority (51%) of this member base.

Yet few South African employers have adapted to the ever-shifting landscape, with many offering the same benefits to employees today that they did five years ago.

This is according to Nomha Kumalo, Head Public Sector at Momentum Corporate, who was speaking at the Momentum Corporate Partnership Connect Roadshow – an event which focused on current and future workforce trends in South Africa – in Sandton on Wednesday.

According to Kumalo, Momentum Corporate’s research reveals that 53% of employees receive no salary increase from year to year, and those who do receive one, have only seen an average increase of 4.7% annually over the past five-year period. “It is therefore key to understand how to offer enticing non-traditional benefits to employees in order to retain and attract top talent. Insights such as these should play an integral role in the adaptation of employee benefits for the modern workforce,” she says.

Kumalo urges employers to get to grips with the real capital in any company: the workforce. “Just like technology, people change and evolve over time. Our views change, our needs change, our preferences and behaviours change – constantly.

“Businesses employ and trust this ever-evolving workforce to help them reach their next level of success, but in order to connect with these employees effectively and to maximise their performance, employers need to stay ahead of not only current, but also future workforce trends. This can be achieved by entrusting their employee benefits design to a dedicated, thought-leading provider who understands workforces and that partners with both companies and their financial advisers.”

Bronwyn Williams from Flux Trends – a leading workforce trends forecasting business – echoed Kumalo’s sentiment of staying ahead of future trends, when she spoke at Momentum Corporate’s Partnership Connect event about the second wave of disruption and the skills and mindset required to pivot.

“The first wave of disruption – digital transformation – is already upon us. So if you’re aiming for digitisation in the 21st century, you’ve already missed the bus and there’s a second wave that’s about to hit you,” says Williams, who went on to discuss the world of smart contracts, chat bots and the wide-reaching future effects of blockchain technology.

Digital transformation, according to Williams, has also spawned a number of new economies that businesses need to take note of. “There’s the ‘sharing economy’, steered by apps like Uber and Airbnb, which has driven the idea that you don’t need to own something in order to use it; the on-demand economy – currently most prevalent in food delivery businesses – which offers convenient access to goods and services; and the growing gig economy, which has seen a shift of preference towards contract-based assignments over full-time employment.”

But how should employers handle all this disruption and adapt to the subsequent organisational pivots, Kumalo questions. “It is important for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse of what these changes mean for their workforce and how they can best cater to their current and future needs. Employers need to adapt to these new economies and tailor their employee benefit offerings accordingly, in terms of allowing for additional flexibility, a renewed focus on health and wellness, and more advanced career development programmes.”

Kumalo says that it comes down to always striving to gain a deeper understanding of the ever-changing workforce, in order to stay one step ahead of workforce trends. “People, just like the world we live in, continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and a continuous multi-faceted research approach is therefore required to stay abreast of these changes.

“This is why we do continuous agile in-house research and partner with leading external institutions to better understand both our clients and their employees at a macro- and micro-level, in order to remain informed on how ever-changing personal, financial and external factors impact their financial wellness,” she concludes.

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