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Global Human Capital Trends report: The Rise of the Social Enterprise

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Amid concerns about automation, the need for new skills, an aging workforce and tightening labor markets, the make-or-break issue facing companies this year is the need for realignment among the C-suite to focus on business’ evolving role in society. In its 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise,” which can be viewed via its digital-first, progressive web app on mobile, tablet or desktop, Deloitte also examines the increasing expectations of the individual and the breathless 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, Deloitte Consulting LLP, U.S. human capital leader. “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.”

With more than 11,000 HR and business leaders weighing in, this year’s Global Human Capital Trends report is the largest longitudinal survey of its kind. 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 siloes. Despite being necessary to advance the enterprise, 73 percent say their executives do not regularly collaborate.

Filling society’s leadership vacuum

Increased transparency and heightened political awareness have drawn widespread attention to business’ role in society as a driver of change. Organizations find they are increasingly expected to exercise their ability to do social good, both externally for customers, communities and society, as well as internally for their employees. True social enterprises must take a total stakeholder approach to pressing public issues to maintain reputation and relevancy.

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 cited citizenship as important or very important. According to the “Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017,” millennials’ high expectations for corporate responsibility is a strong contributor, with 76 percent regarding business as a force for positive social impact. Despite the emerging link between social impact and companies’ financial performance, only 18 percent of respondents say citizenship is a top priority in corporate strategy. Thirty-four percent have few or poorly funded citizenship programs, and 22 percent are not focused on this at all.

“Corporate citizenship is now a CEO-level strategy and critical to a company’s bottom line,” said Josh Bersin, principal, 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.”

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.

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. 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.

The power of the individual requires a holistic approach to jobs and careers

In the past year, organizations have become laser-focused on how automation induced job shifts will impact individuals. The Deloitte research shows that more than 4 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 rated the topic of AI as important or very important.

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 as 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. Espousing their role as drivers of change in the social enterprise, companies need to work to develop and implement robust solutions to decrease the growing skills gaps.

In addition to investing in employees’ professional development, organizations must also 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. However, according to Bersin research, only 3 percent of companies think their reward offerings are very effective at motivating talent. In a new social enterprise, companies must explore more frequent rewards and other incentives like vacation time or student-loan forgiveness.

“Personalized incentives and well-being strategies are key differentiators in talent acquisition and retention, particularly in a tight labor market,” said Volini. “Once-a-year reviews and bonuses are table-stakes in today’s enterprises. Expanding rewards and well-being strategies is critical for the C-suite if they want to attract and retain the right individuals.”

Leveraging technology for sustainable growth

With the deployment of AI, robotics, automation, and people analytics showing no signs of slowing down, companies are reconciling a demand for human skills and the need for increased productivity. While 72 percent of respondents see this area as important, only 31 percent feel ready to address it.

“Automation is here to stay and will improve scale, speed and quality,” said Brett Walsh, global human capital leader, Deloitte Global. “But it’s important to remember that as routine work is automated, new jobs will be created—jobs that are more service-oriented, interpretive, social, and play to our essential human skills. Only companies whose C-suite embraces this transformation and redesign how work gets done to leverage these skills will be able to stay a step ahead of their competition.”

Executives anticipate a growing requirement for complex problem-solving (63 percent), cognitive abilities (55 percent), and social skills (52 percent). To that end, 70 percent of respondents believe workers will spend more time on collaboration platforms in the future and 67 percent anticipate a growth in “work-based social media.” As a flood of new workplace communications tools augments team-based work, 47 percent of organizations cite the productivity of the hyperconnected workforce as a very important issue.

As technology permeates the workplace, people analytics is at the top of executives’ minds, with 84 percent of respondents rating it as important or very important, while only 10 percent of respondents feel very ready to deal with this challenge. With 64 percent of companies actively managing legal liability related to their organization’s people data, only 22 percent have excellent processes to safeguard this data, exposing them to additional risks that can threaten their status as a social enterprise if not proactively managed.

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Post-COVID-19, regaining citizen’s trust should be a priority for governments

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coronavirus people

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated governments’ ability to respond to a major global crisis with extraordinary flexibility, innovation and determination. However, emerging evidence suggests that much more could have been done in advance to bolster resilience and many actions may have undermined trust and transparency between governments and their citizens, according to a new OECD report.

Government at a Glance 2021 says that one of the biggest lessons of the pandemic is that governments will need to respond to future crises at speed and scale while safeguarding trust and transparency. “Looking forward, we must focus simultaneously on promoting the economic recovery and avoiding democratic decline” said OECD Director of Public Governance Elsa Pilichowski. “Reinforcing democracy should be one of our highest priorities.”

 Countries have introduced thousands of emergency regulations, often on a fast track. Some alleviation of standards is inevitable in an emergency, but must be limited in scope and time to avoid damaging citizen perceptions of the competence, openness, transparency, and fairness of government.

 Governments should step up their efforts in three areas to boost trust and transparency and reinforce democracy:

 Tackling misinformation is key. Even with a boost in trust in government sparked by the pandemic in 2020, on average only 51% of people in OECD countries for which data is available trusted their government. There is a risk that some people and groups may be dissociating themselves from traditional democratic processes.

 It is crucial to enhance representation and participation in a fair and transparent manner. Governments must seek to promote inclusion and diversity, support the representation of young people, women and other under-represented groups in public life and policy consultation. Fine-tuning consultation and engagement practices could improve transparency and trust in public institutions, says the report. Governments must also level the playing field in lobbying. Less than half of countries have transparency requirements covering most of the actors that regularly engage in lobbying.

 Strengthening governance must be prioritised to tackle global challenges while harnessing the potential of new technologies. In 2018, only half of OECD countries had a specific government institution tasked with identifying novel, unforeseen or complex crises. To be fit for the future, and secure the foundations of democracy, governments must be ready to act at speed and scale while safeguarding trust and transparency.

 Governments must also learn to spend better, according to Government at a Glance 2021. OECD countries are providing large amounts of support to citizens and businesses during this crisis: measures ongoing or announced as of March 2021 represented, roughly, 16.4% of GDP in additional spending or foregone revenues, and up to 10.5% of GDP via other means. Governments will need to review public spending to increase efficiency, ensure that spending priorities match people’s needs, and improve the quality of public services.

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Sweden: Invest in skills and the digital economy to bolster the recovery from COVID-19

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Sweden’s economy is on the road to recovery from the shock of the COVID-19 crisis, yet risks remain. Moving ahead with a labour reform to facilitate adaptation in a fast-changing economic environment, and investing in digital skills and infrastructure, will be crucial to revive employment and build a sustainable recovery, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Sweden.

The pandemic triggered a severe recession in Sweden, despite mild distancing measures and swift government action to protect people and businesses. GDP fell by less than in many other European economies in 2020, thanks to reinforced short-time work, compensation to firms for lost revenue and measures to prop up the financial system, but unemployment still rose sharply. Solid public finances provided room for further stimulus in 2021 to buttress the recovery.

 The Survey recommends maintaining targeted support to people and firms until the pandemic subsides, then focusing on strengthening vocational training and skills and increasing investment in areas like high-speed internet and low-carbon transport. Addressing regional inequality, which is low but rising, should also be a priority as the recovery takes hold.

 The Survey shows that Sweden has been among the most resilient OECD countries in the face of a historic shock. Yet, like other economies, it faces challenges from demographic changes and the shift to green, digital economies. Investments in education and training, and labour reforms along the lines negotiated by the social partners, will support job creation and strengthen economic resilience. Building on Sweden’s leadership in digital innovation and diffusion will also be key for driving productivity.

 After a 3% contraction in 2020, interrupting several years of growth, the Survey projects a rebound in activity with 3.9% growth in 2021 and 3.4% in 2022 as industrial production resumes and exports recover. The recovery in world trade is bolstering the Swedish economy, however the country remains vulnerable to potential disruptions in global value chains.  

The pandemic has aggravated a mismatch in Sweden’s job market, with unfilled vacancies for highly qualified workers coinciding with high unemployment for low-skilled workers and immigrants. The public employment service needs strengthening to provide better support to jobseekers, including immigrants and women, and labour policies should strike the right balance between supporting businesses and workers and supporting transitions away from declining businesses towards growing sectors.

A rising share of youths and older people in the population, especially in remote areas, is affecting the finances of local governments, which provide the bulk of welfare services. Strengthening local government budgets and ensuring equal welfare provision across the country will require providing tax income to poorer regions more efficiently and raising the economic growth potential across regions through investments in innovation. Improving coordination between government entities and reinforcing the role of universities in local economic networks would help achieve that aim.

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Fewer women than men will regain work during COVID-19 recovery

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Generations of progress stands to be lost on women and girls' empowerment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: ILO

Fewer women will regain jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery period, than men, according to a new study released on Monday by the UN’s labour agency.  

In Building Forward Fairer: Women’s rights to work and at work at the core of the COVID-19 recovery, the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights that between 2019 and 2020, women’s employment declined by 4.2 per cent globally, representing 54 million jobs, while men suffered a three per cent decline, or 60 million jobs. 

This means that there will be 13 million fewer women in employment this year compared to 2019, but the number of men in work will likely recover to levels seen two years ago. 

This means that only 43 per cent of the world’s working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 69 per cent of their male counterparts. 

The ILO paper suggests that women have seen disproportionate job and income losses because they are over-represented in the sectors hit hardest by lockdowns, such as accommodation, food services and manufacturing. 

Regional differences 

Not all regions have been affected in the same way. For example, the study revealed that women’s employment was hit hardest in the Americas, falling by more than nine per cent.  

This was followed by the Arab States at just over four per cent, then Asia-Pacific at 3.8 per cent, Europe at 2.5 per cent and Central Asia at 1.9 per cent. 

In Africa, men’s employment dropped by just 0.1 per cent between 2019 and 2020, while women’s employment decreased by 1.9 per cent. 

Mitigation efforts 

Throughout the pandemic, women faired considerably better in countries that took measures to prevent them from losing their jobs and allowed them to get back into the workforce as early as possible. 

In Chile and Colombia, for example, wage subsidies were applied to new hires, with higher subsidy rates for women.  

And Colombia and Senegal were among those nations which created or strengthened support for women entrepreneurs.  

Meanwhile, in Mexico and Kenya quotas were established to guarantee that women benefited from public employment programmes. 

Building forward 

To address these imbalances, gender-responsive strategies must be at the core of recovery efforts, says the agency. 

It is essential to invest in the care economy because the health, social work and education sectors are important job generators, especially for women, according to ILO. 

Moreover, care leave policies and flexible working arrangements can also encourage a more even division of work at home between women and men. 

The current gender gap can also be tackled by working towards universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection. 

Promoting equal pay for work of equal value is also a potentially decisive and important step. 

Domestic violence and work-related gender-based violence and harassment has worsened during the pandemic – further undermining women’s ability to be in the workforce – and the report highlights the need to eliminate the scourge immediately. 

Promoting women’s participation in decision-making bodies, and more effective social dialogue, would also make a major difference, said ILO. 

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