Navigate people management landscape

Four critical people management insights from BCG & WFPMA’s 2023 Creating People Advantage Survey

The results are in from Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) and the World Federation of People Management Associations’ (WFPMA) 2023 global survey, based on responses from 6,893 participants in 102 markets.

The survey’s findings highlight crucial insights for leaders seeking to navigate the complex people management landscape. They indicate that virtually all firms of all sizes need to focus more heavily on strategic workforce planning, talent acquisition, upskilling and reskilling, digitization, related change management, and leadership behaviors.

One cannot overstate the importance of people management functions in responding to short- to medium-term stimuli, and the need to proactively plan for long-term future challenges.

Highest-ranked talent acquisition topics in terms of future importance

  1. People and HR strategy
  2. Employee engagement and wellbeing
  3. Leadership behaviors and development
  4. Employer branding
  5. Purpose and culture activation
  6. Strategic workforce planning
  7. Change management capabilities
  8. Upskilling and reskilling at scale
  9. HR IT architecture, operation, and cloud software

Talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is becoming ever more important for organizations. While people managers understand the value of identifying, recruiting, and retaining key talent in a competitive market, the survey shows that for the most part, capabilities in talent acquisition currently fall short of what is needed. Organizations need to improve their recruitment strategies and processes to successfully attract and hire the best candidates. Although most companies ranked their employee relation capabilities highly, it’s clear that more needs to be done to attract talent. Rewards and recognition, employer branding, and a talent sourcing ecosystem all can contribute to successful recruitment. You should also seek to make improvements in areas such as health and safety, flexible work schemes, and policy management.

Businesses will need to prioritize certain aspects of people management.

Focus on critical priorities that will contribute to medium to long-term results

Many of the respondents admitted that their current strengths won’t necessarily future-proof their overall company performance. If you’re currently scrambling to keep your heads above water, you need a concrete plan that shifts your focus to capabilities that yield results in the medium to long term such as mobility, staffing, upskilling and reskilling, and the efficiency of the people management function itself.

Lagging digitization

Digitization remains a crucial area for people managers, making it an urgent priority – but digital capabilities continue to lag in many organizations.

AI adoption

AI is gaining traction among people managers – but most organizations are still in the nascent stages of this journey, whereas early adopters implementing AI-based solutions are already seeing significant benefits in people management.

The survey identifies five priorities for people management leaders:

  • leveraging data for talent planning
  • focusing on strategic workforce planning
  • prioritizing talent acquisition
  • upskilling and reskilling
  • embracing AI


Digitization remains a crucial area for many organizations but digital capabilities, including HR IT architecture, operations, and cloud software, are all developing too slowly. You may need to invest in and build digital capabilities now to keep up with the changing business environment and to unlock the potential benefits of digital technology.

When you have clear people management priorities, you can quickly build up the capabilities you need to succeed. The bigger challenge lies in looking ahead and planning for the long-term future. In a fast-moving business environment with multiple disruptions such as AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation, it’s not enough to simply react to short-term external challenges. Over the next few years, companies will need to proactively reallocate resources to capabilities that will be more important for future performance – a lot of work remains to be done in preparing for, and responding to, external factors in the long term.


Companies ranked upskilling ninth in terms of future importance – but current capabilities in this area rank 17th overall. Prioritize developing the talent you already have and focus more on upskilling and reskilling to constantly update their capabilities.

Talent gaps are a significant business challenge for organizations. Nearly 75% of respondents in the survey identified people challenges and talent gaps as their biggest stumbling blocks. Addressing talent gaps is crucial for you to effectively address other challenges like digital transformation, innovation, sustainability transformation, major restructuring, and global expansion in new markets. In the main, organizations recognize the importance of identifying, recruiting, and retaining key talent – but you may need to enhance your current capabilities in this area.

Strategic workforce planning

While people management functions are typically good at responding to short- to medium-term stimuli, the bigger challenge lies in looking ahead and planning for the long-term future. You need strong leadership to drive successful change management and digital transformation initiatives in people management functions.

Survey respondents ranked strategic workforce planning as the sixth-most important capability for future performance – but only 18th in terms of current capabilities, which exposes a significant gap between their acknowledgement of the need and their actual ability to execute it effectively. Talent scarcities and dynamic business priorities mean that people management functions need to anticipate and plan for future talent needs. But this cannot happen in a vacuum; it requires initiative and leadership.

As a people management leader, you need to set the right priorities for these challenging times and beyond. Leverage data to anticipate talent supply and demand; emphasize the change management and leadership behaviors needed to successfully implement talent acquisition, digitization, upskilling and strategic workforce planning. Effective leadership is crucial for guiding your organization to proactively allocate resources to areas that will be important for future performance.

HelloKindred can ramp up your headcount through flexible staffing solutions, making strategic resource planning easy and quick to implement. Our workforce is technical and creative, talented and diverse – and ready to help grow your people resources in no time at all.

Find out how HelloKindred can help you navigate the post-layoff landscape
Find out more about the growing role of AI in talent management