Amid the increasing use of technologies such as mobile devices, three-dimensional printing, sensors, cognitive computing, and the Internet of Things, which is changing the way companies design, manufacture and deliver almost every product and service, digital disruption and social networking platforms have changed the way organisations hire, manage and support people, according to global advisory firm Deloitte’s 2016 human capital trends report titled ‘The new organisation: Different by design’.
Speaking on Thursday at an American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa event, held in collaboration with office space developer Tower Bridge, Deloitte human capital consulting partner Trevor Page highlighted that digital technology was everywhere, disrupting business models and radically changing the workplace and the way work gets done.
Referencing the human capital trends report, Page noted that innovative companies were figuring out how to simplify and improve the work experience by applying the disciplines of design thinking and behavioural economics, as well as embracing a new approach called digital human resources(HR).
According to Deloitte’s report, operating effectively in the ‘gig economy’ posed a number of questions, such as how companies could best use and schedule external staff to improve the productivity of their own workers and increase profitability. “Many companies are struggling with the challenge. In a disruptive world you want to try and adapt very fast and not try to apply learned knowledge over and over again,” said Page.
He noted that human capital management was the one constant that could bring consistency and certainty to business in a disruptive word and addressed how human capital trends were evolving, highlighting the top ten human capital trends for 2016. “Ranked in order of importance, these [trends] include organisational design, leadership, culture, engagement, learning, design thinking, changing the skills of the HR organisation, people analytics, digital HR and workforce management,” he said.
Page noted that, as the pace of change in the workplace accelerated, business and HR leaders who moved aggressively to address these trends would likely gain an advantage over their competitors.
He further remarked that the world had not really recovered from the 2008 economic downturn and that businesses faced volatility quarter by quarter, and month by month.
“Every time we have a crisis, such as Brexit, the disruption is accentuated to a higher degree. It affects business confidence and major economic indicators,” he noted, adding that businesses and their employees were constantly operating in a volatile space.
Owing to this volatility, employees were anxious and uncertain rather than energetic, entrepreneurial, driven and positive. “There’s a disconnect there and we need to manage that resource differently. We can’t trust the world economy or politicians, but we can trust the people in our organisation if we manage them better,” he said.
Page pointed out that millennials now made up more than half the workforce, and brought high expectations for a rewarding, purposeful work experience. They wanted constant learning and development opportunities, as well as dynamic career progression.
“At the same time, baby boomers working into their 70s and 80s are being challenged to adapt to new roles as mentors and coaches or, often, as subordinates to junior colleagues,” Page said.
He added that the global nature of business had made the workforce more diverse, demanding a focus on inclusion and shared beliefs to tie people together.
Page noted that, when it came to meeting heightened talent needs, top organisations had to learn to integrate and leverage the part-time and contingent workforce.
BY: ANINE KILIAN
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ONLINE
8TH SEPTEMBER 2016