How People Investments Translate Into Business Growth


SAP BRANDVOICE| Paid Program, Feb 23, 2024,01:10pm EST

By Margit Bauer, Director of Product Marketing, SAP SuccessFactors

Midsize organizations are focused on driving growth through customer acquisition, market share, and revenue. However, HR leaders are concerned with much more. Oxford Economics research reveals they’re looking forward and focusing on factors that could impact their companies’ ability to gain a competitive edge.

In the survey of 400 HR executives and 150 IT executives from midsize companies, nearly half of respondents identified three workforce-related challenges as their business’s top threats:

  • Reskilling and upskilling talent to adjust to changing requirements
  • Finding the right talent
  • Retaining talent

Rethinking how to win the race for talent and skills

The pressure to build and keep a strong workforce intensifies as workers have more options than ever for employment. As midsize companies strive to compete and deliver against strategic objectives, HR teams recognize the pivotal role of technology in achieving these goals. They are adopting various tactics – with a keen focus on learning, upskilling, and reskilling, and recruiting – to develop their current employees while attracting new ones to grow and remain competitive.

Despite these efforts, there’s still room for improvement when it comes to providing sufficient career growth opportunities, competitive compensation, and efficient HR processes and experiences. HR teams must rethink talent strategies, such as increasing internal mobility and accelerating skills transformation, by focusing on people management and technology investments.

When talent acquisition, development, and retention are not addressed concurrently, organizations risk hiring and replacing workers at unsustainable rates. And HR and IT leaders see the writing on the wall – with 49% citing the inability to find the right talent to maintain operations as the greatest near-term risk to their organization. This practice creates conditions that get in the way of delivering services efficiently, expanding into new markets, and improving profitability.

Discover how growth-focused midsize businesses prioritize their talent management strategies to help them grow and remain competitive. Read the Oxford Economics study, sponsored by SAP, “Optimizing Talent Management: Best Practices for HR and IT.”

The adoption of foundational technology – such as core HR and talent management solutions, data analytics tools, and cloud-driven processes – can help set the stage for more advanced solutions, particularly AI and machine learning. Over 25% of surveyed midsize companies have implemented AI capabilities to enhance workforce dynamics. However, a noteworthy shift is on the horizon: nearly 50% plan to implement AI within the next 12 months.

Surging interest in AI implies that HR leaders are reassessing existing HR systems and talent strategies to help optimize the employee experience. As noted in the research, respondents who leveraged AI to optimize their learning and development processes are confident their organization can overcome skills gaps and increase internal mobility.

Building a skilled, agile workforce with AI-guided learning

While many teams may have the right people, growth-focused companies must still be on the lookout for new skills to keep up with ever-evolving demands and competitive pressures.

The Oxford Economic survey reveals that 30% of HR and IT decision-makers are starting to understand how AI can help meet talent development and retention goals that are critical to their company’s growth. This includes individualizing course selections and learning plan assignments based on captured skill sets, project experience or roles.

Adopting a learning management system (LMS) with embedded AI gives organizations a wide range of capabilities that enhance the learner’s experience. For example, instead of a “search and find” approach to identifying relevant courses and content, an AI-powered LMS can make learning options highly relevant to the learner by automatically surfacing personalized recommendations based on the employee’s role, skills, needs, and preferences.

Such AI-driven learning recommendations can help save time by pointing the learners towards the most relevant and valuable resources, rather than spending time searching for them on their own. And most important, access to self-directed learning and development opportunities fosters a habit of continuous learning and personal growth. As with machine learning algorithms, these recommendations will improve and become more valuable over time with further use and input.

HR and IT executives must develop a shared AI strategy to guarantee consistent HR ethics and governance as well as unified data and processes for actionable workforce insights and improved employee experiences.

Unlocking scalability and success with HR innovation

As evidenced by the Oxford Economic study, the convergence of HR and IT strategies is becoming a pivotal factor for midsize companies seeking ongoing growth. By moving beyond foundational technologies and investing in cloud solutions and AI, organizations can effectively address their current workforce needs while laying a solid foundation for adapting and evolving their businesses for future growth. In return, their employees and managers are more empowered to work faster and smarter, ultimately enhancing overall productivity and competitiveness.

Discover how growth-focused midsize businesses prioritize their talent management strategies to help them grow and remain competitive. Read the Oxford Economics study, sponsored by SAP, “Optimizing Talent Management: Best Practices for HR and IT.”


SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent, sustainable enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: SAP customers generate 87% of total global commerce. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. 

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