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High-performing organisations are more likely to discuss talent at board level and use workforce issues to drive strategy, according to a study by Oxford Economics and SAP.

The global Workforce2020 study surveyed more than 2,000 high and low performing companies across the world.

It found that 69% of executives at high-growth companies say workforce issues drive strategy at board level, compared to an average score of 49%. Almost a quarter of executives in underperforming companies said workforce issues were seen as an “afterthought” in business planning.

The research also found high-performing companies are more likely to offer training as a benefit, and are more likely to have a formal mentoring programme (73% compared to 27%).

More successful companies are also more au fait with technology, with 73% of executives at high-performing businesses saying their organisations had plenty of data analytics skills. In contrast, less than a quarter (23%) of executives at low-performing companies said cloud technology was fully utilised in their business.

Less than half (46%) of low-performing companies say they are satisfied with the quality of new hires, but recruiting talent is still far from easy for higher-performing companies, who are 55% satisfied.

Overall, executives at higher-performing businesses are better equipped to deal with demographic workforce shifts, and are more likely to recognise the impact an ageing workforce and Generation Y could have on their strategies.

Oxford Economics managing editor, thought leadership, Edward Cone said Workforce2020’s results demonstrated “a clear division between those who are positioning their companies for the future of work and those who are not”.

“We hope that these findings highlight that talent issues matter – and companies who are falling behind now cannot afford to do so anymore,” he added.

SAP SuccessFactors president of the HR business Mike Ettling said the findings proved HR “has never been more important to organisational success.” “HR has the opportunity to find, support and drive the talent that ultimately leads to greater financial success,” he added.