Global Human Capital Trends 2015:  Leading in the new world of work

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Global Human Capital Trends 2015:  Leading in the new world of work

Deloitte University Press 2015

In the new world of work, the barriers between work and life have been all but eliminated. How do you lead in an accelerated economy where the balance of power in the employer-employee relationship has shifted? It’s time for bold, creative leadership.

Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the new world of work

The Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the new world of work report is one of the largest-ever longitudinal global talent studies. The research involved surveys and interviews with more than 3,300 business and HR leaders from 106 countries. The survey asked business and HR leaders to assess the importance of specific talent challenges facing their organisations and to judge how prepared they were to meet these challenges. Using the responses a “capability gap” was calculated for each challenge, measuring the difference between an issue’s importance and an organisations readiness to address it.

The report highlighted ten major trends which reflect four major themes: leading, engaging, reinventing and reimagining. The research data highlighted substantial capability gaps in all ten areas. Additionally, when comparing this year’s data results with the data from last year, it was found that the capability gap in many of these areas had increased in magnitude. This would suggest that rapid changes in the workforce and the accelerating economy have created even more urgency in the need to adapt HR and people practices around the world.

Download the report and explore the infographic: Human Capital Trends 2015

The top five major trends are:

1.       Culture and engagement: The naked organisation

Engagement is the single most important issue facing organisations in 2015 with a staggering 87% of respondents believing the issue is “important” with a further 50% citing the problem at “very important”. A significant number of employees are considering other employment opportunities in 2015 and it is important for organisations to re-visit their Employee Value Propositions (EVP).

2.       Leadership: Why a perennial issue?

The leadership gap is widening which, unless addressed as a priority, will have substantial long-term implications on employee and, in turn, organisational performance. Organisations have been focusing on a year-by-year budgetary view to leadership development; it has been viewed more as a training issue to be resolved however it needs to be noted that this is not a short-term issue. High-performing organisations are investing 1.5 to 2 times more on leadership than other organisations and are reaping triple or quadruple results over their competitors.

3.       Learning and development: Into the spotlight

The results of the surveys and interviews showed that 84% of organisations view Learning and Development (L&D) as a top-3 issue, a significant increase on from last year’s #8 in the Global Human Capital report 2014. Unfortunately it is not an organisations desire that is holding them back on execution of strategy, rather a skills shortage and it is this reason that L&D and the learning experience needs to be reinvented.

4.       Reinventing HR: An extreme makeover

Today’s organisations require a different role from their HR function to what was previously more of a compliance function. The ‘new world of work’ now requires HR practitioners and leaders to be agile, business integrated, data-driven, and deeply skilled in attracting, retaining and developing talent and unfortunately a 39% of organisations surveyed see this reskilling of their HR function as an urgent need.

5.       Workforce on demand: Are you ready?

With the world around us changing so rapidly, from technology, to agile approaches to work the requirement to engage more of a contingent workforce is on the rise. Organisations are utilising a broad range of external talent to meet on-demand organisational requirements. It is important to note that more than half of the respondents say that their need for contingent workers will keep growing over the next three to five years. Combining this need with the number one trend to focus on culture and engagement it will be crucial for organisations to ensure engagement strategies consider all workers, including their contingent workers.

In summary, the research highlighted that the “softer” areas such as culture and engagement, leadership and development have become urgent priorities. Leadership and learning have also dramatically increased in importance but the capability gap for organisations is widening. Leadership, for the third year in a row, is at the forefront of challenges being faced by organisations and shockingly only 6%, of those organisations surveyed, believe their leadership pipeline is “very ready”.

So what does the ‘new world of work’ look like and how do you lead it? 

Today’s hyper-connected world sees employees “always on”, removing the traditional barriers between work and life. Almost anything is now available at the tap of a screen. Social media has led to instant access for employees and employers of both organisational and personal information. This provides insights to companies about potential employees and vice versa.

There is a definite shift in the balance of power in the employer-employee relationship, making employees more like customers or partners than subordinates and more than half of today’s workforce is now made up of millennials whose expectations are vastly different from those of previous generations.

The key to improving leadership capability is in an organisation’s commitment to developing its leaders; at all levels. Consistent investment in development needs to be a priority, in good times and in bad. Organisations need to consider leadership development and succession planning with a long-term lens, including the development of its millennial leaders who, research data is showing (53%), aspire to be leaders or senior executives of their own organisations.

It is time for a shift in how leaders’ performance is being measured. Rewards should be directly related to leaders developing successors and sharing talent not simply on meeting a strategic or operational KPI. A greater emphasis on a coaching environment should form a part of development and assessment frameworks with out-of-the-box development opportunities considered, such as business partnering, being considered.

Today’s leaders must look to engage their employees and therefore it must be made a corporate priority. Real steps need to be undertaken to ensure work is more meaningful. Leaders need to ensure they are being authentic in their style and transparent in their approach to feedback and coaching.

To read the full report, Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the new world of work please refer to Global Human Capital Trends 2015.

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