Canadian Businesses Aren't Prepared to Tackle Today's Urgent Business Challenges, Deloitte Report

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Apr 24, 2014) – Significant uncertainty exists in Human Resources’ (HR) ability to address and respond to the challenges of today’s multigenerational, borderless and technologically savvy workforce, according to the results of Deloitte’s 2014 Human Capital Trends survey of 133 Canadian HR and business leaders. Respondents recognized the need to take action on critical issues including leadership (73 percent), employee retention and engagement (55 percent) and workforce capability (50 percent). However, many HR professionals and non-HR executives expressed reservations about their readiness to take action. More than half of respondents also rated the current performance of their HR and talent teams as less than good.

“The greatest challenge for the human capital management profession is how to manage a rapidly globalizing workforce, while at the same time keeping pace with shifting demographics and ever-evolving technology,” said Heather Stockton, Deloitte’s Human Capital Practice leader in Canada. “Human capital strategies affect business’ ability to compete and grow. Now is the time for HR leaders and organizations to embrace these challenges and transform HR to effectively engage and manage the 21st century workforce.”

Stockton said that while the survey results suggest that the confidence in HR’s ability to support organizations is low, the task at hand is far from impossible.

“Business and HR leaders must have the confidence to reimagine and reinvigorate their teams,” said Stockton. “It is important that they do so in order to attract and develop the right talent for today’s marketplace.”

Top five challenges facing Canadian leaders, identified in Deloitte’s 2014 Human Capital Trends survey:

  1. Leaders of tomorrow need development opportunities now
    Respondents identified leadership as the biggest challenge (73 percent) and the most urgent priority, moving from fifth place a year ago. Nearly a quarter of respondents (20 percent) feel their companies are ready to support leadership development right now. While identified as an urgent matter (38 percent of Canadian leaders), respondents view their talent programs to develop existing and future talent as either weak or adequate. And nearly three quarters (73 percent) of HR leaders rate their ability to leverage emerging tools and approaches such as analytics and advanced media learning to develop future leaders as weak.
  1. Making a difference, not just earning a paycheque
    Retaining and engaging employees was the second major challenge facing Canadian firms (55 percent). Employee expectations have evolved to the point where compensation alone won’t attract – or retain – the best and brightest. Today’s successful engagement strategies align personal, corporate and social goals. Three quarters of HR professionals and their non-HR peers in Canada feel ready to respond and engage the 21st century workforce.
  1. Wanted: Talent
    Workforce capability rounds out the top three challenges, registering with half of Canadian respondents. Capability gaps have emerged in many organizations trying to respond to the scarcity and uneven distribution of skills in the global workforce. One in ten (10 percent) of HR leaders feel ready to address this challenge, while non-HR leaders feel twice as ready (20 percent).
  1. Reinventing talent acquisition Canadian respondents believe talent acquisition and access is a greater challenge than their global counterparts (fourth in Canada, fifth globally). HR teams must move away from the traditional talent wells and use new strategies for finding talent, given the shifting workplace demographics. Social media and crowdsourcing will become ever more important for sourcing and advertising positions. More than half of respondents (53 percent) feel somewhat ready, while 9 percent feel ready.
  1. Corporate learning re-imagined
    Respondents rank revisiting learning and development programs as the fifth greatest challenge affecting human capital decision-making in Canada (42 percent). Millenials and other young employees are accustomed to mobile and web-based learning and gamification, meaning traditional training methods may not be as effective. A quarter of respondents feel ready to meet the diverse needs of the four generations currently in the workforce.

About Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2014

This report, Human Capital Trends 2014: Proceed with action, challenges ahead, was designed to complement Deloitte’s 2014 global human capital trends report, Engaging the 21-st century workforce: Global Human Capital Trends 2014. The global report is one of the largest talent management surveys to-date, bringing together 15 years of research, incorporating the views of more than 2,500 business and HR leaders in 90 countries around the world. This report examines national results, based on 133 Canadian respondents.

To download a copy of Human Capital Trends 2014: Proceed with action, challenges ahead please visit

About Deloitte

Deloitte, one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte operates in Quebec as Deloitte s.e.n.c.r.l., a Quebec limited liability partnership.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Caitlin Stidwill, Deloitte
Direct: 416-775-7144
Cell: 647-290-7263

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Canadian Businesses Aren't Prepared to Tackle Today's Urgent Business Challenges, Deloitte Report
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