Recruiting, Talent

Meeting Today’s Human Capital Challenges

Automation, the need for new skills, an aging workforce, and tightening labor markets are only a few of the human capital challenges organizations face. Add to these a more vocal and empowered workforce, along with a societal call to action, and it becomes apparent there is a need for increased leadership collaboration.

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Nevertheless, a new study from professional services firm Deloitte finds that C-suite executives aren’t working together to meet these and other challenges.
Findings from the study are detailed in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise,” which also examines the increasing expectations of the individual and the pace at which technology is shaping organizations’ human capital priorities.
“As society grapples with daunting demographic, technological, and social challenges, people want business leaders to fill the gap, but our research shows they have a long way to go,” said Erica Volini, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “This year’s report is a wake-up call for organizations to look beyond their own four walls and reimagine their broader roles in society. Integrating the C-suite to build a more social enterprise will be a differentiator for businesses to attract the right talent, drive customer loyalty, and sustain long-term growth.”

Study Highlights

Leadership. Respondents overwhelmingly point to the need for a symphonic C-suite – a team-based, cross-disciplinary approach to tackling complex issues – with 85 percent calling this trend important or very important. Survey results show companies where C-suite executives regularly collaborate are one-third more likely to be growing 10 percent more than companies whose leadership operates in silos. Despite being necessary to advance the enterprise, 73 percent say their executives do not regularly collaborate.
Corporate citizenship. The study also finds that with more pressure on businesses to be good citizens and engineer solutions to critical social challenges, citizenship must be a core part of an organization’s identity and mission. In fact, 77 percent of survey respondents cite citizenship as important or very important.
“Corporate citizenship is now a CEO-level strategy and critical to a company’s bottom line,” said Josh Bersin, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, and founder and editor-in-chief of Bersin. “It’s not about check-the-box CSR initiatives, but integrating citizenship, fairness, inclusion, and purpose as core values across work practices. Customers and employees alike are holding companies to higher standards than ever before and rewarding companies who demonstrate socially-conscious behavior with unwavering loyalty.”
Aging workforce. Internal and external social forces are also driving attention to the aging global workforce. Extended life expectancies raise questions on how long careers will last and how aging workers will impact economies and public policy. Fifteen percent of survey respondents report that their organizational perspective is that older employees are getting in the way of rising talent. Despite the aging global workforce and the competitive advantages older talent offers, 49 percent of respondents indicate their companies have done nothing to help older workers find new careers as they age, and another 15 percent say older workers are viewed as an impediment to rising talent. However, the aging workforce remains an untapped resource of experience and knowledge for social enterprises to use to their advantage.
Workplace shifts. As constituencies look to how companies treat their own employees, tackling the alternative workforce takes center stage for socially-conscious organizations. By 2020, 37 percent of organizations expect a growth in contractors, 23 percent in freelancers, and 13 percent in gig workers. Despite this anticipated growth, only 16 percent said they have an established set of policies and practices to manage this variety of worker types. Deloitte points out that it is critical to successfully implement hybrid workforce strategies because they can have a significant impact on an organization’s employment brand and external reputation.
AI and workplace automation. Automation is also a pressing issue. Deloitte research shows that more than four in 10 companies believe automation will have a major impact on jobs, and 61 percent are now actively redesigning jobs around AI and robotics. Additionally, 72 percent of HR and business leaders rate the topic of AI as important or very important.
Skills development. Against this backdrop, companies and individuals realize the traditional career model is becoming defunct. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed consider building new career models and skills very important. More than 54 percent have no programs in place to build the skills of the future, and only 18 percent feel they give employees opportunities to develop themselves. Companies need to work to develop and implement robust solutions to decrease the growing skills gaps, Deloitte notes.
The study also suggests that in addition to investing in employees’ professional development, organizations should rethink how they invest in their employees on a personal level. Forty-three percent of those surveyed say well-being reinforces their organization’s mission, 60 percent say it improves employee retention, and 61 percent say it improves productivity and bottom-line results.
More than 11,000 HR and business leaders responded to the Deloitte study.