Human Capital Trends

Human Capital Trends

TREND 1. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE FUTURE: ARRIVING NOW

Given the pace of change and the constant pressure to adapt, it is not surprising that executives identified building the organization of the future as the most important challenge for 2017. In this year’s survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents rated this problem as very important, and 90 percent rated it as important or very important. This level of interest signals a shift from designing the new organization to actively building organizational ecosystems and networks. Agility plays a central role in the organization of the future, as companies race to replace structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action.

 

TREND 2. CAREERS AND LEARNING: REAL TIME, ALL THE TIME

The concept of a “career” is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward “always-on” learn- ing experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily, and on their own terms. This year, careers and learning rose to second place in rated importance, with 83 percent of executives identify- ing these issues as important or very important. At leading companies, HR organizations are helping employees grow and thrive as they adopt the radical concept of a career described in The 100-Year Life.7 New learning models both challenge the idea of a static career and re ect the declining half-life of skills critical to the 21st-century organization.

 

TREND 3. TALENT ACQUISITION: ENTER THE COGNITIVE RECRUITER

As jobs and skills change, finding and recruiting the right people become more important than ever. Talent acquisition is now the third-most-important challenge companies face, with 81 percent of respondents calling it important or very important. Our chapter on talent acquisition highlights how leading organizations use social networking, analytics, and cognitive tools to nd people in new ways, attract them through a global brand, and determine who will best t the job, team, and company. A new breed of cognitive technologies is radically trans- forming recruiting, which stands at the early stages of a revolution.

TREND 4. THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE: CULTURE, ENGAGEMENT, AND BEYOND

Culture and engagement are vital parts of the employee experience, and leading organizations are broadening their focus to include a person’s rst contact with a potential employer through retirement and beyond. Today, companies are looking at employee journeys, studying the needs of their workforce, and using net promoter scores to under- stand the employee experience. Workplace redesign, well-being, and work productivity systems are all becoming part of the mandate for HR.

 

TREND 5. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: PLAY A WINNING HAND

For the last ve years, companies have been experimenting with new performance management approaches that emphasize continuous feedback and coaching, reducing the focus on appraisal. This year, companies are moving beyond experimentation to deploy new models on a wide scale. Even though HR technology tools have not quite caught up, new approaches to performance management are work- ing, and they are increasing productivity and changing corporate culture.

 

TREND 6. LEADERSHIP DISRUPTED: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES

As companies transform and digital organizational models emerge, leadership needs change as well. Eighty percent of our respondents say that leader- ship is an important issue, and 42 percent call it very important. Organizations are clamoring for more agile, diverse, and younger leaders, as well as new leadership models that capture the “digital way” to run businesses. While the leadership development industry continues to struggle, companies are push- ing the boundaries of their traditional leadership hierarchies, empowering a new breed of leaders who can thrive in a rapidly changing network.

 

TREND 7. DIGITAL HR: PLATFORMS, PEOPLE, AND WORK

As the enterprise as a whole becomes digital, HR must become a leader in the digital organization. This means going beyond digitizing HR platforms to developing digital workplaces and digital work- forces, and to deploying technology that changes how people work and the way they relate to each other at work. Fortunately, the path to digital HR is becoming clearer, with expanded options, new platforms, and a wide variety of tools to build the 21st-century digital organization, workforce, and workplace.

 

TREND 8. PEOPLE ANALYTICS: RECALCULATING THE ROUTE

Data about people at work has become more important than ever, but the focus of people analytics has changed. Formerly a technical discipline owned by data specialists, people analytics is now a business discipline, supporting everything from operations and management to talent acquisition and financial performance. Readiness to capitalize on people analytics remains a challenge, however. Only 8 percent of organizations report they have usable data, while only 9 percent believe they have a good understand- ing of the talent factors that drive performance.

 

TREND 9. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: THE REALITY GAP

Fairness, equity, and inclusion are now CEO-level issues around the world. Executives can no longer abdicate diversity strategies to the CHRO or chief diversity o cer. A new focus on accountability, data, transparency, and “diversity through process” is driving efforts around unconscious bias training and education throughout the business community. Despite these efforts, however, we see a reality gap. Issues around diversity and inclusion continue to be frustrating and challenging for many organizations.

TREND 10. THE FUTURE OF WORK: THE AUGMENTED WORKFORCE

Robotics, AI, sensors, and cognitive computing have gone mainstream, along with the open talent economy. Companies can no longer consider their workforce to be only the employees on their balance sheet, but must include freelancers, “gig economy” workers, and crowds. These on- and o -balance- sheet workers are being augmented with machines and software. Together, these trends will result in the redesign of almost every job, as well as a new way of thinking about workforce planning and the nature of work. Change is already taking place: In this year’s survey, 41 percent of our respondents have either fully implemented or made significant process in adopting cognitive and AI technologies, and another 35 percent report pilot programs.

New game, new rules

The game has changed, and so have the rules. In this year’s Global Human Capital Trends report, we supplement each chapter with a table highlight- ing the shift from old rules, which dominated past thinking about how to run an organization, to a set of new rules, which de ne how leading companies now think and operate. These new rules reflect not only insights from our survey, but also our work with companies around the world that are setting the bar for performance in today’s global economy. They are the result of years of thought and practice, as well as our observations of leading companies in every industry, geography, and size.

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