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Perspectives

A power and utilities perspective: Human Capital Trends 2019

Power and utilities industry reinvention hinges on a human focus

Our 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey highlights the acute pressures forcing businesses to learn to lead the social enterprise—and reinvent themselves around a human focus. From the alternative workforce and employee experience to talent mobility, explore the key trends impacting the power and utilities sector.

Top human capital trends in power and utilities

Explore the findings from our 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey through the lens of the energy, resources, and industrials industry. This year's survey included more than 1,100 respondents across 100 countries—282 of which were from power and utilities companies in 57 countries.

The 10 individual trends align to the theme of "Leading the social enterprise—Reinvent with a human focus," and are organized around three futures: the future of the workforce; the future of the organization; and the future of HR. Specific to power and utilities organizations, survey respondents identified six trends that are of utmost importance to their organizations in 2019 and beyond. Their key issues are:

The future of the workforce

  • The alternative workforce: It’s now mainstream
  • Leadership for the 21st century: The intersection of the traditional and the new

The future of the organization

  • From employee experience to human experience: Putting meaning back into work
  • Rewards: Closing the gap

The future of HR

  • Learning in the flow of life
  • Talent mobility: Winning the war on the home front

For more information on each trend, including specific discussions on how power and utilities organizations can put these trends into action, download the full report.

The alternative workforce: It's now mainstream

Power and utilities organizations that want to grow and access critical skills for the future will need to look strategically at all types of work arrangements—from full-time employment to alternatives including contract, freelance, and gig positions. Yet even as power and utilities businesses increase the size and scope of their alternative workforce, it may be challenging to integrate this workforce segment into their overall organization.

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Leadership in the 21st century: The intersection of the traditional and the new

In the 2019 survey, 79 percent of power and utilities respondents said that 21st century leaders must take a nuanced approach to pursuing traditional business goals and draw on critical new competencies. This includes leading through change, embracing ambiguity and uncertainty, and understanding digital, cognitive, and AI-driven technologies. Power and utilities companies should be developing skills and metrics today that will help their leaders effectively engage with stakeholders and manage the workforce of the future.

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From employee experience to human experience: Putting meaning back into work

Improving what is often called the "employee experience" was rated as the most important human capital trend among power and utilities respondents—83 percent rated it as important or very important. But the concept of employee experience falls short; it fails to capture the need for meaning in work that people are looking for. Many workers aren’t satisfied with their current job design. Their leaders haven’t looked at what employees need and what they do—and haven’t tied work back to what they value.

employee experience

Rewards: Closing the gap

Power and utilities organizations are exploring an array of perks and rewards to motivate their people, but efforts are falling short of the mark. According to survey respondents, business leaders don't understand what their employees truly value, nor do they provide appropriate rewards and benefits. Power and utilities companies need to close the gap and develop rewards that align with more agile models for performance measurement. Will they be able to address workers’ legitimate expectations and needs?

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Learning in the flow of life

Learning is becoming more integrated with work, more personal, and shifting—slowly—toward lifelong models. Effective reinvention requires a culture that supports continuous learning, incentives that motivate people to take advantage of learning opportunities, and a focus on helping individuals identify and develop new, needed skills. Innovative digital platforms and tools that facilitate experiential learning on the shop floor, on the road, and at home can help power and utilities organizations encourage learning in the flow of life.

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Talent mobility: Winning the war on the home front

Power and utilities companies must develop people internally to thrive. Unfortunately, talent mobility isn’t a cultural norm for power and utilities organizations. Career progression isn’t seen as moving from one area to another, but only as moving up through the ranks in one area. The power and utilities industry needs a new set of norms governing talent mobility. It should be perceived as a natural, normal progression rather than a major change in one’s career.

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