As mental health and workforce exhaustion slip from risk radar, firms in Singapore are at risk of losing talent, said Mercer recently.
According to a Mercer Marsh Benefits report titled “People Risk: Resetting priorities to manage risks for workforce and business resilience”, cyber security and data privacy (#1), administration and fiduciary (#2) as well as catastrophic personal life events (#3) have emerged as the top three people risks for companies in Singapore.
Mercer surveyed more than 2500 HR professionals and risk managers across Asia on the top 25 people risks impacting businesses today for the report.
However, survey results indicate that only 52% of companies are planning to invest in mitigating the above three risks.
A gap in what employers say and do, a divergence in how human resource (HR) and Risk Managers weigh different threats as well as a failure to take a holistic view of individual risks are putting companies in Singapore in danger of losing top talent, Mercer warned.
Survey highlights: Singapore
- In Singapore, nine in 10 (92%) companies regard health and safety as the most serious threat to business, compared to organisations in Asia (89%) and globally (87%).
- Yet, far fewer are taking action to address these risks, particularly when it comes to mental health and workforce exhaustion.
- Only 66% of employers in Singapore are actively taking steps to mitigate risks on employee mental health challenges, lower than the global (70%) and Asia average (74%).
- When it comes to workforce exhaustion, only 62% are addressing the risk as compared to global (66%) and Asia average (69%).
Differing priorities for HR leaders and risk managers
In addition, the Mercer report highlights disparities in the different risks HR and Risk Managers prioritise.
Risk Managers in Singapore were more concerned about workforce exhaustion (#6), ranking it among the top 10 risks compared to HR Leaders (#23), Mercer said.
HR Leaders prioritised talent attraction and retention amid a tight labor market (#8) while Risk Managers ranked it #18.
There is divergence in how Risk Managers and HR Managers view the rising cost of wellbeing benefits, with HR Leaders prioritising it at #11 and Risk Managers ranking it at #21.
The difference in sentiment between HR and Risk Managers likely stems from differing views of risks and the overall organisational goals, Neil Narale, Mercer Marsh Beneifts Leader, Singapore pointed out.
“At a time when companies are facing unprecedented challenges, it’s more important than ever for both HR and risk managers to work together to agree on the severity of each risk and are part of the actions to address it,” he advised.
Failure to do so will only further exhaust the workforce, causing employee burnout and low engagement, ultimately affecting financial performance, he added.
A more holistic approach needed
While employee health and safety and talent retention are both pressing people risks, 86% of companies also ranked accelerated digitisation as a serious threat, Mercer observed.
Among digitisation risks, cybersecurity and data privacy emerged as the top threat to businesses, impacting both a business’ financial performance and reputation, the firm said.
What HR and risk managers failed to recognize is that cybersecurity and data privacy is as much a people as it is a technology issue, Mercer noted.
One in three companies reported that monitoring remote work access was a challenge in Singapore and, similarly, one in three said that employee-owned devices used during the pandemic were responsible for security incidents, the firm said.
Workforce exhaustion (#17) is also inter-related, Mercer pointed out.
A study by IBM found that overworked and stressed employees are more likely to make mistakes, as human error accounts for 95% of cyber security breaches, the firm said, adding that data privacy risk is also exacerbated by high employee turnover.
“As such, companies need to pay just as much attention to talent retention, ranked currently #10”, Narale said.
“People risks are all intrinsically linked,” he noted. “Talent is linked to cyber issues, workforce exhaustion linked to mental health issues, and mental health is linked to both talent and financial issues.”
To effectively mitigate the people risks impacting the business, companies need to take a holistic approach instead of resolving each challenge on its own, Narale advised.