Are You Ready For the Future of Work?

Four years ago, the global consulting company Deloitte started conducting a major, annual piece of research into workplace trends. This year’s report has just come out and this year’s theme is the changing design of work, workplaces and the workforce.

Called ‘The new organization: Different by design’, Deloitte’s 2016 Human Capital Trends survey, focuses on how workplaces are changing, how the nature of work itself is changing and how the workforce is changing. The findings are based on more than 7,000 responses from business and HR leaders in over 130 countries around the world.

What are the key findings? The vast majority (92%) of those participating in the survey say that the redesign of organisations is a critical priority. These ‘new organisations’, as Deloitte calls them, need to be designed around highly empowered teams, driven by a new model of management and led by younger and more globally diverse leaders.

In order to achieve this new design, CEOs and HR leaders are concentrating their efforts on creating a shared culture, designing work environments that engage the workforce and constructing a new model of leadership and career development.

This re-calibration of the workplace is happening through the adoption of digital technologies, by fostering a strong learning culture and by having diversity and inclusion as an important part of the business strategy.

Alongside this workplace transformation, the HR function is also transforming, says Deloitte, as HR has to design and orchestrate these new people processes. As a result, HR leaders are evolving from being ‘chief talent executives’ to being ‘chief employee experience officers’.

To effect this, HR needs to be able to simplify HR processes, help employees manage the deluge of information facing them at work and build a culture that is strong in collaboration, empowerment and innovation. Deloitte says this means a total overhaul of the way that HR performs – recruitment, performance management, onboarding…The skills that HR really needs now and in the future are in areas such as design thinking, people analytics and behavioural economics.

What is precipitating these changes? There are four key drivers: demographic upheavals and the changed make-up of the workforce; digital technology and how that has disrupted business models and workplace practices; the rate of change that requires business to be more agile; and the new social contract between employers and employees.

Regarding this last driver, the report talks about the fact that young people no longer expect or can afford to expect to stay with one organisation throughout their working life, moving up the career ladder. Instead, the modern workforce expects to work for multiple employers and has high expectations of each place of work. They want rapid career growth, an exciting and flexible workplace and a sense of mission and purpose at work.

The survey asked business and HR leaders to rate their top 10 human capital trends for 2016. The results were this:

Organisational design – 92% considered it very important or important
Leadership – 89%
Culture – 86%
Engagement – 85%
Learning – 84%
Design thinking – 79%
Changing skills of the HR organisation – 78%
People analytics – 77%
Digital HR – 74%
Workforce management – 71%