Let the reinvention begin

Insights from IMPACT posted on April 16, 2019.

Our 12th annual IMPACT conference—the largest ever, with nearly 680 attendees—kicked off on Monday in Phoenix with the unveiling of Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report. 

Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with a human focus comes at an inflection point in the disruptive course of global economic, social, and technological change. And it offers a bold call to action: Organizations must put humans at the center of their business strategies and bring meaning back to the workplace.

As US Human Capital Leader Erica Volini explained, the factors behind the rise of the social enterprise—the growing power of the individual, a decline in trust in government, and the influx of technology—are not going away. And neither is the social enterprise. Fifty-three percent of our nearly 10,000 survey respondents across 119 countries believe the social enterprise will be more important in three years than it is today.

Leading the social enterprise is going to take more than mission statements and social impact programs. Organizations must go beyond purpose because, although it can guide, inspire, and serve as a framework for the social enterprise, purpose is about the organization. It doesn’t address the day-to-day realities of modern workers who are asking themselves what their individual roles will be in the future of work. That question can only be answered by focusing on meaning.

But how can organizations bring meaning back to work and the worker when:

  • Fifty-one percent of organizations surveyed believe their workers are not satisfied with their job design
  • Only 18 percent believe they have a transparent and open model
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents feel it is easier to find a new job at an outside organization than within their current organization
  • Eighty percent say they are predicting growth in AI and cognitive technologies over the next few years, but only 26 percent are ready to address technology in the workplace
  • Only 30 percent are effectively developing leaders to meet today’s evolving challenges

By coming together in a symphonic way to seize the opportunity this moment presents, social enterprise leaders can leverage the power of technology to reinvent timeless human capital challenges—jobs, learning, rewards, experience, and leadership.  The 2019 Global Human Capital Trends directly speak to the “what” of this human-focused reinvention challenge across:

  • The future of the workforce—the mainstreaming of the alternative workforce; the rise of technology-enabled superjobs; and the 21st-century leadership imperative
  • The future of the organization—the evolution of the employee experience into the human experience; organizational performance as a team sport; and the closing of the rewards gap
  • The future of HR—talent access over talent acquisition; continuous learning in the flow of life; the elevation of internal mobility; and the HR cloud as a launch pad, not a destination

After we unveiled the 2019 trends, the report authors and human capital leaders joined the conversation to explore the findings in greater depth, addressing questions including:

  • What’s the difference between purpose and meaning

As Brad Denny, US Human Capital Power & Utilities leader and principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, explained it, meaning is all about driving the concepts of belonging and self-esteem into the fundamental nature of the organization. It’s reinventing traditional programs like rewards, learning, and mobility so that each employee feels they are learning and growing and being rewarded in ways that are truly personalized to them. Whereas purpose is organizational, meaning is personal.

  • Is the call to reinvention a global phenomenon?

According to Heather Stockton, Deloitte’s Global Human Capital leader, you have to look at what’s happening around the world—a loss of trust in government, technology-driven change, and productivity declines—to see that Trends and their drivers are global in both their nature and impact. It’s no longer good enough to focus solely on shareholder returns—organizations should marry this with purpose and meaning to address the challenges they face.

  • Is the “robot apocalypse” really coming or will we see new superjobs emerge?

Robots are not taking away human jobs—the scare tactics are not coming to fruition—said Josh Bersin, Deloitte advisor and Trends author. In fact, the more automation that takes place, the more human-like jobs become. Social, communication, and complex thinking skills—the soft skills—are becoming more and more valuable. And because of this, new superjobs are emerging. We don’t necessarily recognize the job descriptions or have them as job catalogs right now, but these are jobs in which people will use the data and information coming out of these machines to do new things. And it’s starting to happen across every industry. The big issue is, how can you get there from here as a worker and an organization?

  • Why is learning the top trend this year?

As David Mallon, chief analyst for Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP, sees it, we all have a sense of our ideal self and a desire to pursue that. And we want our organization to help us get there. So, it’s not surprising that, from an individual perspective, people are crying out for their organizations’ support in pursuing new opportunities through learning. Organizations are now waking up to the fact that the entire apparatus for how we grow skills is just not doing what it’s supposed to do. The concept of learning in the flow of life was already happening. Every day, every week, workers have moments that are career-defining. Organizations and individuals now need to harness this by identifying and capturing the moments that have a material effect on workers’ ability to grow.

  • Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents believe it’s easier to find a job outside their company than inside it. Why can’t we make more progress on internal mobility?

Part of the problem is the way managers are trained and rewarded, as both Brad Denny and Josh Bersin pointed out. Leaders need to move away from holding on to their best talent and managing their career paths and move toward empowering them to architect their own path. Many organizations also don’t have the processes in place to support mobility. Only 6 percent of survey respondents said they believe their company is excellent at moving people from role to role. All the panelists agreed that this has to change—especially in an incredibly competitive job market where outside talent is hard to find and expensive to train.

The panel discussion ended with the question of the hour: Where does reinvention start? 

Throughout the discussion, it may have sounded like the panelists were asking the audience to change everything. And though that’s not what they meant, they did agree that leaders have to commit to reinvention in key areas. As Heather Stockton said, “We have to stop tinkering around with various initiatives and pick something that matters to our business and recode it.” As IMPACT unfolds over the next two days, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to go deeper on where and how to get start on their own reinvention.

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