HR Indaba 2018: Cohesion Collective building social cohesion one organisation at a time


Founder Roy Gluckman tells us more about the firm, which provides strategic consulting, research and training on all matters relating to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion ("EDI") and organisational culture

In the coming weeks and months, we will be chatting to all the HR Indaba partners, asking them why they are excited about the event and what they believe is the most important issue facing the profession. Here we speak to Roy Gluckman, the CEO and Founder of Cohesion Collective.


What is Cohesion Collective all about?


Our primary focus is to champion social cohesion, both broadly in terms of building togetherness within society as a whole and on a micro-level, by driving organisational change that accelerates overall access to opportunities, inclusion and growth. It's a professional services firm that essentially takes a hard look at soft skills.


For example, there is a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how it will all impact the world of work. The prevailing view is that many of today's jobs are going to be done by robots and that there is a significant proportion of the working population whose current skill set is therefore likely to become redundant in the not-so-distant future. But we believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is actually a call to action to connect with our humanity. Machines can never be as creative or empathetic as humans so all that we need to do is teach people how to adapt to the new era.  Our work is about finding out what skills, attributes and attitudes are going to be needed by businesses and economies in order to thrive in that future.


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We believe that a lot of the skills of the future are based on cross-cultural competencies, social intelligence, learning agility and other such ideas, which we spend a lot of time researching on consulting on.


Outside of the work we do with corporates, we do a lot of work with schools and civic organisations simply from a South African nation-building perspective. It's really about how to be better humans, better leaders, better managers, better organisations etc…


Why sign up for the HR Indaba?


The HR Indaba brings together a lot of people that we would want to talk to. Our work is really about changing society through organisations so the HR Indaba is the perfect platform to expose us to the people that, firstly, identify with our message of achieving organisational growth through people development and, secondly, are custodians of the talent, training and, to some extent, the culture of their organisations.


One of the fundamental beliefs is around the notion of 'access'. Access to opportunities, education, wellness, and networks. And that is exactly what the HR Indaba provides - access to a greater audience, which allows us to do the work that we love to do.


What would you say are the most pressing issues facing the HR profession at the moment?


One of the challenges that are particular to the South African context is 'transformation', which I think is inexplicably linked talent attraction and retention. So, for me, this should be one the top concerns for all HR Leaders. They need to be constantly thinking about how they identify, attract and keep the best talent, which is in very limited supply, especially when companies have to think about things like employment equity. They have to think about how they should be training talent to make sure that they have the skill set to thrive in a dauntingly uncertain future business environment.


Another challenge for HR, which is quite closely related to what I've just mentioned, is how can create a more diverse and inclusive working environment. Putting it simply, this is about creating supportive working environments where everyone in the organisation, irrespective of their age, gender, race or religious beliefs, can be comfortable with being themselves and expressing their ideas. It's a very difficult thing to achieve. 




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