Workforce restructuring, upskilling and enhancing employee experience top priorities for Indonesian firms in 2021, says Mercer’s new study


Jakarta, Indonesia, 4 March, 2021 – The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a fundamental shift in the way companies operate, accelerating the need for an adaptable and agile workforce to bolster business success. According to Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends study, the financial impact and work-life disruption caused by the pandemic has spurred employers in Indonesia to focus on workforce restructuring (45%) and active reskilling in 2021 (41%) in order to future ready their business and workforce.


Also high on their priority list is enhancing employee experience (30%), as companies look to create a positive and productive flexible work environment and to improve their health and well-being programmes to maximise impact and meet the rising expectations of their employees.


Workforce restructuring and upskilling for future success


The nature of disruption today demands that companies transform at pace to stay ahead of competition, and according to Mercer’s survey, 45% of Indonesian companies cite workforce restructuring as their key focus in 2021. As remote working becomes mainstream with a shift to more fluid working arrangements, 52% of companies have implemented or are planning to implement more alignment between structures (methods, processes and systems) while ensuring that inclusivity is also embedded in the culture (values and behaviors), compared to 34% globally.


COVID-19 also proved how rapidly adjusting capacity and redeploying resources is critical to success. 41% of companies made it easier to share talent internally as a result of COVID-19, and a further 41% plan to do so in 2021. As remote working becomes mainstream and new ways of working demand new skills, companies are seeking to focus on targeted workforce upskilling of critical talent pools (74%); reinvent flexibility for their workforce (55%), and expand their talent and learning eco-system (49%).


While 40% of firms are identifying new skills needed for their post-COVID operations, just 30% of HR leaders, (compared to 14% of their global peers) have implemented skills-based talent strategies such as pay-for-skills frameworks.


Isdar Andre Marwan, Director of Career Services, Indonesia, Mercer said, “Companies in Indonesia are seeing the benefits of adopting a more flexible business model and are investing in transforming their workforce for the new world economy. Looking at work and people through a skills lens will be critical going forward as it allows them to act quickly and flexibly in the face of disruption.


But adopting a skills-based talent model may be an area of challenge for Indonesian firms.  For skills-based talent strategies to work, employees need to see that learning new skills leads to tangible rewards, recognition or promotion yet only one in ten employers have a program to reward skills in place. Getting employees on board with new ways to quantify their value and build capability will be necessary for skills-based talent strategies to work.”


Employee experience critical to fuel business recovery


Employers focused on employees’ basic needs of safety, stability, and security during the first phase of the COVID-19 crisis. However, those needs and employee expectations are evolving, calling for a more holistic approach from employers as companies enter the next phase of recovery.


In Indonesia, 49% of companies plan to offer greater access to remote health and benefit options, compared to only 36% of their global peers. Digital care delivery will become the centerpiece of programmes to re-engage employees in their long term well-being: 49% want to enable digital health check-ups to promote health goals and 40% are adding benefits to address mental or emotional health issues. In addition, 82% of organizations are already using or plan to improve employee health and well-being analytics. Employers have also begun to recognize that financial well-being is important for their employees with four in 10 looking to improve employees’ financial health and well-being through analytics.


Flexible working, likewise accelerated by COVID-19, has proven central to the new employee experience. More than 60% of organizations have already expanded flexible working policies and practices, and a further 34% plan to do so in 2021. To help employees adapt to new ways of working, Indonesian companies are accelerating programs and policies that enable employees to adapt to new ways of working (36%); transforming the HR operating models to be more agile (27%) and accelerating HR digital transformation (20%).


Godelieve van Dooren, Mercer’s South East Asia Growth Markets Leader and Asia Zone Career Business Leader, said “The need to meet employees’ diverse expectations is pressing, especially as organizations reinvent themselves for a new era. With the rise of flexible working, digital transformation remains a critical pathway to providing better employee experiences and better business results.”


“Building on a better understanding of different employee group needs and preferences, the next phase will be leveraging AI to offer more personalized and inclusive benefits. It’s heartening to see that Indonesian companies are starting to leverage AI in strategic workforce planning, people analytics and performance data related to flexible working. These investments will pay off in the long term. ”


Other findings Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Survey:

  • Indonesian firms are rethinking benefits and the talent value proposition to inspire employees. 84% of Indonesian companies are reexamining what is most relevant to different employee personas, compared to 65% globally.
  • Leveraging AI, HR leaders plan to improve their analytics capabilities to support strategic workforce planning (55%); people analytics integrated with market strategies (53%) and learning and skill acquisition (52%).
  • Indonesian HR leaders say the top barriers to transformation are balancing an emphasis on survival/lack of budgets (61%) and too many distracting priorities (45%).



About Global Talent Trends study

The sixth edition of Mercer’s Global Talent Trends (2021) study shares insights from over 7,300 senior business executives, HR leaders and employees and, for the first time, has deep dive Companion Reports for 23 geographies, spanning 44 countries. To download the Global report, visit here. In conjunction, the Global Talent Trends 2020–2021 Local Companion Report – Indonesia edition shares insights from 88 Indonesia HR leaders to uncover their priorities for the year ahead. To download the Indonesia edition or the Southeast Asia edition which shares insights from 200 HR leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, visit here.


About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 83,000 colleagues and annual revenue of over $20 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including MarshGuy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.