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Distinctly human

Global human capital trends shaping the future

Three HR transformation leaders unpack how the latest technologies can actually empower the social enterprise, specific tactics for elevating the human experience and ways organisations can leverage “built to evolve” Kinetic Enterprise™ capabilities to support a decidedly human enterprise.

To understand how organisations worldwide are activating the “built to evolve” enterprise, Deloitte surveyed more than 9,000 business and IT executives for its 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report. A primary focus: unleashing the full potential of the “social enterprise”—an organisation that combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network.

Moments and experiences that matter

What began as a movement to empower employees with more HR self-service options has evolved into something much more significant: the employee experience. For Gordon Laverock, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, that means businesses have reimagined how employees are part of the organisation – not simply doers of work, but a vital force that needs to be engaged, aligned, cared for and recognised as drivers of policies and benefits, not merely consumers . “I think organisations are about to break through into that next level with employee experience management.”

The trend has also meant Human Resources now has a long-awaited seat at the boardroom table and, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many HR leaders are facing what Mostafa “Moose” Noorzay, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, calls a “moment that matters’: “The organisation is looking at HR to help them get started, help them thrive in this challenging time.”

Building on both ideas, Satish Badgi, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, offers for consideration a departure from the nomenclature of ‘human resources’ to something that represents the shift to experience much more accurately. “It's the human capital, human resources and employee experience all bringing together into a new term called Human Experience Management (HXM).”

Belonging, well-being, purpose

The bigger the role technology plays in Human Capital Management, says Badgi, the greater the challenge to preserve the human angle. Of the people surveyed in the Deloitte report, 93 percent said workplace “belonging” is a key driver of performance, and more than 75 percent said well-being is important to them. Pandemic and work-from-home orders aside, the question is: How can organisations remain distinctly human in a technology-driven world?

For Laverock, it’s about authenticity. If organisations can help individuals bring their authentic selves to work every day “and feel the connection to the organisation, that can help improve and foster a sense of belonging and drive better performance for the organisation.”

For Noorzay, it’s about shared purpose which encourages a connection, taking the focus off the distance tech can impose: “You're focussed on a common goal. That's where your connection and your fabric is. That's what we need to do as organisations to help our employees or workers feel that sense of connection.”

Multi-generational workforces

With five – and with the entrance of Gen Z, six – generations working side-by-side, the Deloitte survey revealed that while the majority (70 percent) of organisations consider multi-generational workforces essential to success, only 10 per cent are ready to address the workforce’s needs and even less (six per cent) consider leaders equipped to effectively lead them. How can a company cultivate a more successful, engaged workforce across the generations?

Consider each segments of your employee population, suggests Noorzay, the same way retail has done with customers. “Understanding what the worker values, for example their attributes, their attitudes, their opinions and interests, that allows the organisation to then use that to look at how they develop HR programs, HR policies and HR strategies that are effective for everyone.”

And because it’s now possible to have a manager of all ages guiding the work of others, Badgi points out companies must consider knowledge management as well. “…the learning, the reskilling, everything for a multi-generational workforce has to be managed differently.”

Laverock offers that if companies treat people as a cohesive group (versus solely as a demographic), and then meet their needs and expectations in meaningful, more beneficial ways, two things can happen: “First thing is a ‘performance boost,’ you’ll get magic out of people. The second is engagement will ramp up – and that’s where companies really start to go into that next level of performance.”

People-first, always

As people reinvent their thinking, they come to expect more from their employers, even the potential ones. Where once the interview questions would end at topics like compensation and benefits, today, people are asking about aspects like carbon footprints, how a company defines sustainability. That, says Badgi, needs to be reflected in the organisation’s culture – and it goes beyond values, goals and objectives. “Organisations need to align with this new thinking.”

Well-being might well be the most important trend in the Deloitte survey, certainly given that a whopping 96 percent of people surveyed declared it an organisational responsibility. Physical health is part of the equation, as is financial health and now, mental health, particularly in a COVID-19 environment where back-to-back video calls are a norm, as are longer days, stress and potential burnout. “It’s extremely important,” says Laverock, “that organisations have the appropriate enabling technology to ensure that employees can manage and control work.”

Companies may need to shift how they look at their workforce, in order to align their values accordingly, not the other way around. Noorzay recalls a case study from the survey, a private early childhood education organisation that prioritised the support of teacher well-being. Along with changes to the physical environment and curriculum, the organisation turned to technology. They created an app for educators to consult during stressful situations that would identify the student behavior and the most appropriate teacher response.

The outcome? “It helped the teachers build resilience in high-stress situations; it helped lower dis-enrolment; it helped the retention of teachers … If you address workers’ well-being, not only are you helping the worker, but you’re also helping the organisation and the bottom line.”

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