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The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward | Prologue

THE WORLD TODAY looks remarkably different from the one in which we launched the first Global Human Capital Trends report in 2011. The past decade has been marked by radical change, by a “newness” that has evolved at a pace that can only be described as exponential. And as the workforce evolved, so did worker expectations—with calls for organisations to do more to help improve individuals’ lives, address societal problems, mitigate technology’s unintended consequences, and act equitably and ethically. Throughout these significant changes, our annual Global Human Capital Trends report has offered readers an opportunity to understand each moment in history, viewing the current economic, cultural, and technological landscape through the perspective of people and business.

At the same time as these human concerns were playing out, another equally powerful phenomenon was underway: an intense focus on technology as a primary driver, if not the primary driver, of enterprise value. It’s time to challenge the view that technology and humanity are distinct domains. A view that fuses the human and the technological—one that calls us to work with a world shaped by technology—can enable people and organisations to transcend the most challenging conflicts that exist in organisations today by making three bold shifts:

  • Fostering belonging amid a desire for individuality. Our survey results reinforce that belonging is a concern: 84 percent of our South African respondents said that “fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce” was important or very important to their organisation’s success in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Creating security in a world of reinvention. This year’s survey results highlight the need for reinvention: 56 percent of our South African respondents said that between half and all of their workforce will need to change their skills and capabilities in the next three years.
  • Taking bold action in an age of uncertainty. 96 percent of our South African respondents said that the accelerating need for organisations to change at scale and speed was important to their success over the next 10 years, yet only 49 percent felt that their organisations were ready to change at the scale and speed required.

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