Intensifying economic, social and political disruption are forcing organisations to move beyond mission statements and social impact programmes, to putting people at the centre of their business strategies and learning to lead the social enterprise.
“To bring meaning back into the workplace and a human identity back to the worker, it is clear that traditional human capital programmes and processes must be fundamentally reinvented,” consultancy Deloitte says in its ‘Human Capital Trends (HCT) 2019’ report.
The survey on which the report was based was completed by 9 000 respondents from 119 countries, of which 345 were from South Africa.
This year’s HCT determined the leading trend globally and for South African organisations was around the need for learning. More than 86% of respondents globally considered learning important, while 89% of the South African respondents indicated that learning was important.
Deloitte Consulting Africa human capital practice partner Pam Maharaj on Thursday said the social enterprise was here to stay, driven by three primary forces.
The first of the rising forces is a rise in the power of the individual – in the South African context, it particularly relates to social uprising and protests around service delivery and social issues such as harassment.
Another driver of the social enterprise, noted Maharaj, was the ever-lowering level of trust in government. “There is a call for companies to do more, to fill the vacuum that government is not filling.”
Lastly, the influx of technology that continues on a daily basis continues to have unintended consequences. “We have seen issues on privacy of data going onto various platforms. We also know that, with automation, there is a pervasive issue that people are facing with jobs that are being replaced.”
Maharaj pointed out that the social enterprise was not about corporate social responsibility and that it was about more than profit, or was rather profit with a purpose.
She said the social enterprise went beyond its four walls and engaged with the broader ecosystem – government, communities and partners – with C-suite management moving away from working in silos to team-based work.
Deloitte Germany practice partner Michael Lily said the “alternative workforce”, referring to people being self-employed, freelancing or being contracted to do work, was now mainstream.
By 2020, the number of self-employed workers in the US is projected to triple to 42-million people. In Deloitte’s HCT survey, 41% of respondents indicated that this issue was considered important.
However, only 8% of respondents had established processes to manage and develop alternative workforce sources.
“People need to be included in a non-employment kind of way.”
Deloitte organisation transformation director Trevor Page pointed out that South Africa had 12-million people in the “alternative workforce” and, yet, 26% of the South African respondents indicated in the HCT survey that they had little or no established processes to manage an alternative workforce.
Page predicted that 30% of South Africa’s workforce would be “alternative workers” by 2024.
Eighty per cent of respondents indicated that they expected an increase in the use of cognitive intelligence and artificial intelligence to increase over the next three years. However, only 13% believed automation would eliminate a significant number of positions.
In South Africa, 24% of respondents believed automation would eliminate a significant number of jobs.
Lily elaborated that the jobs of today were more machine-powered and data-driven than in the past. This required a strong focus on finding the human dimension of this work, thereby creating “superjobs” that combined digital work with human skills in problem-solving, communication, interpretation and design.
Further, 80% of respondents thought that twenty-first-century leadership had unique and new requirements that were important to the organisation’s success. Yet only 25% said they were effectively building digital leaders.
Thirty per cent were effectively developing leaders to meet evolving challenges.
“Today’s leaders operate in the context of disruptive digital business models, augmented workforces, flattened organisations and ongoing shifts to team-based work practices. Refreshing one’s view of this context is essential to determine how leaders can combine traditional expectations with new leadership competencies to effect their organisation’s success,” said Lily.
Lily further noted that an employee experience had evolved to rather be a human experience.
In Deloitte’s HCT survey, 84% of respondents rated the need to improve the employee experience as important and 28% rated it as being urgent. Only 42% of respondents thought workers were satisfied with current day-to-day practices.
“Employees are at their highest rates of dissatisfaction, depression and demotivation. Humans need to be engaged with what they are doing, be happy with what they are doing and have it provide meaning and purpose. How do we repurpose meaning back into the workplace?” questioned Lily.
Thirty-one percent of respondents said most or almost all work was done in teams and 53% of those with cross-functional teams had seen significant improvements in their performance.
Yet, only 6% of respondents rated themselves as very effective at managing teams.
In South Africa, 23% of respondents said most work was done in teams, indicating that South Africa was slightly out of line with the “teamwork” trend that was growing at a faster pace globally.
“The number one answer for what employees value is not money, but the value of their work to them. Nearly a quarter of organisations surveyed do not feel that they know what rewards their employees value, and only 11% of respondents believed that their rewards systems are highly aligned with their organisational goals,” said Lily.
Page highlighted that South Africa was not doing enough to reward employees.
He added that rewards had to be linked with what people value.