Deloitte launches 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report

Results of the survey reveal South Africa as a microcosm of the global landscape.

Deloitte has launched the 9th iteration of its Global Human Capital Trends report, which is the largest longitudinal survey of its kind. Completed by nearly 10,000 respondents in 119 countries, including South Africa, the survey explored three theme - The future of the workforce, the organisation and HR respectively  where the leading trend to emerge centred on a growing demand to reinvent the way people learn. More than 86 percent of respondents globally described this as ‘important’ and here in South Africa, this figure was even higher – at 89 percent.

Among the attendees of the event were some of the country’s top HR leaders, including Deloitte CHRO Tswelo Kodisang, Tiger Brands CHRO Sinenhlanhla Magagula, ABSA Group Head of Organisational Effectiveness Stembiso Phakathi, MTN Group CHRO Paul Norman (who has been nominated for the inaugural CHRO Awards) and Sasol Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Charlotte Mokoena.

Titled Leading the Social Enterprise, the report reveals South Africa as a microcosm of the global landscape, with local repsondents mirroring views on what their global counterparts consider to be major challenges around readiness for the future world of work amidst an intensifying combination of economic, social, and political issues is forcing HR and business leaders to reinvent their organisations around a human focus.

The future of the workforce

Leading organisations are empowering individuals and providing for their need to continuously develop their skills, by investing in new tools to embed learning into the flow of work as well as the flow of an extended life and, as a consequence, an extended career. Despite this, a very small proportion of respondents said their organisations are ‘very ready’ to address this topic. In South Africa, 51 percent of respondents are exploring automation and 58 percent state they are using automation to replace repetitive work. The ongoing adoption of automation technologies amplifies the need for continuous learning, as most respondents reported the latter is ‘important’.

Even with advancements in technology, human skills remain critical to augmenting value. Some organisations are considering redesigning work into a new category of ‘super-jobs,’ which combines work and skill sets across multiple domains and opens up opportunities for mobility, advancement and the rapid adoption of new skills desperately needed today.

Even as part of the workforce re-organises into ‘super-jobs’, Deloitte Consulting Africa Human Capital leader, Pam Maharaj pointed out that lower-wage work across service sectors continues to grow, along with non-traditional contract, freelance, and gig employment.

“It is imperative that these jobs are not left behind as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the workforce of the future,”  Pam said. “Organisations need to explore all options and create a culture which embraces technology while ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging and esteem”.

The future of the organisation

In the age of the social enterprise, organisations are being challenged to up their game when it comes to the employee experience they offer. Slightly more than half of South African respondents said that they are ‘satisfied’ with the current work-related tools and technology available.

Most did not believe that they have enough autonomy within their jobs to make good decisions, providing further evidence that significant reinvention is required.

“Organisations need to shift from the traditional employee experience to a ‘human experience’. In this ‘human experience,’ relationships are enduring, learning is continuous and work has meaning that is centred around human identity”, said Pam.

Creating this ‘human experience’ requires a different type of leader. In South Africa 94 percent of survey respondents believed that “21st-century leaders” face unique challenges and requirements, making it critical for organisations to extend leadership pipelines to find and build leaders from within the organisation.

The future of HR

“Leaders should be shifting their focus from acquiring talent to accessing capabilities and taking a more expanded view of where skills can be found,” said Pam, adding that HR now has a new mandate, beyond the administrative scope, to shape the future of work. This means that the the entire organisation, led by a symphonic C-suite, needed to come together to take the lead in establishing the future of work.

"It is not just an HR responsibility...Organisations must reshape their approach to human capital, into one that has the worker in mind and create opportunities for continuous learning, accelerated development and professional - as well as personal - growth.”