McKinsey has recently published a survey on How Companies Act on Global Trends - and found that although companies have often identified that they will be strongly affected by global trends, they don't always act:

Companies that don’t act on trends they think will be important cite a shortage of skills and resources, higher strategic priorities, or a lack of possible responses to these trends.

Hmmm, sounds just like some of the objections we hear to long term workforce planning!  The survey covers many trends which impact the future workforce (more on that tomorrow!), and "increasingly global labor/talent markets" is cited as the number 3 impact on profitability - 66% expected a strong positive or negative impact, but only 48% stated they were taking steps to address it.  Again, this is very like the results we found in our survey on workforce planning "The Gap Between Needing and Doing".

McKinsey's study also took a look at what employers ARE doing about this trend:

Around half of the companies that have acted on the trend toward increasingly global labor and talent markets were developing global programs to improve the skills of their current workforce and to source global talent more effectively.  But only a quarter got around to backing up these efforts with measures to retain global talent.  

...and zero appear to have responded that they have taken steps to really understand what the impact would be and how best to tackle it in the different parts of the organization.  Yes, it's probably not an option McKinsey offered, but it's something we've noticed is very often missing - organizations often lack the right description of their current and future (global?) workforce to be able to create targeted strategies to address trends like these.  Here's the full list of the approaches McKinsey found:


How many of these approaches is your organization using?  More importantly, has your organization taken the surprisingly simple steps to tie strategies like this to future workforce gaps and so to business strategy?  Or are you just doing "best practice" and hoping for the best?