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2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends

Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with human focus

In the face of disruptive social, political, and economic forces, organizations must move beyond mission statements and social impact programs to put humans at the center of their business strategies and bring meaning back to the workplace.

Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2019

The report draws on insights from nearly 10,000 global survey respondents and includes actionable strategies and stories from companies that are at the forefront of reinvention. Find out what the 2019 human capital trends are, and how business leaders can ensure their organizations are well prepared to respond and take advantage of the opportunities presented.

2019 Human Capital Trends - Zurich launch event

A call to action for HR and business leaders

In last year’s Global Human Capital Trends report, we described the rise of the social enterprise—organizations whose mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network. This year, we believe the pressures that have driven the rise of the social enterprise have become even more acute. They are forcing organizations to move beyond mission statements and philanthropy to learn to lead the social enterprise—and reinvent themselves around a human focus.

Where can we direct our efforts in order to make a meaningful impact? To address this question, we have organized our human capital trends for 2019 into three actionable categories:

  • the future of the workforce
  • the future of the organization
  • the future of HR

Explore all trends that we have identified under these three micro-themes below.

The Future of the Workforce

How should organizations adapt to the forces restructuring job and work design, the open talent economy, and leadership?

The Alternative Workforce - It Is Now Mainstream
For many years, people viewed contract, freelance, and gig employment as “alternative work,” options considered supplementary to full-time jobs. Today, this segment of the workforce has gone mainstream, and it needs to be managed strategically. Given growing skills shortages and the low birth rate in many countries, leveraging and managing “alternative” workforces will become essential to business growth in the years ahead. Read the chapter

From jobs to superjobs
The use of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, and robotics to automate and augment work is on the rise, prompting the redesign of jobs in a growing number of domains. The jobs of today are more machine-powered and data-driven than in the past, and they also require more human skills in problem-solving, communication, interpretation, and design. As machines take over repeatable tasks and the work people do becomes less routine, many jobs will rapidly evolve into what we call “superjobs”—the newest job category that changes the landscape of how organizations think about work. Read the chapter

Leadership for the 21st century
In a world of disruptive digital business models, augmented workforces, flattened organizations, and an ongoing shift to team-based work practices, organizations are challenging their leaders to step up and show the way forward. Our research shows that while organizations expect new leadership capabilities, they are still largely promoting traditional models and mindsets—when they should be developing skills and measuring leadership in ways that help leaders effectively navigate greater ambiguity, take charge of rapid change, and engage with external and internal stakeholders.Read the chapter

The future of the organisation

How teams, networks, and new approaches to rewards are driving business performance?

From employee experience to human experience
One of the biggest challenges we identified this year is the need to improve what is often called the “employee experience”: Eighty-four percent of our survey respondents rated this issue important, and 28 percent rated it urgent. But the concept of employee experience falls short in that it fails to capture the need for meaning in work that people are looking for. We see an opportunity for employers to refresh and expand the concept of “employee experience” to address the “human experience” at work—building on an understanding of worker aspirations to connect work back to the impact it has on not only the organization, but society as a whole. Read the chapter

Organizational performance: It’s a team sport
The shift from hierarchies to teams is well underway. Thirty-one percent of survey respondents told us they now operate mostly or almost wholly in teams, with another 65 percent saying they are mostly hierarchical but with some cross-functional team-based work. Yet most organizations have not yet refreshed leadership, job design, and rewards to adapt. Our research shows that many leaders do not know how to operate in teams and have not yet adopted the team model of engaging with each other. Deeper in the enterprise, many organizations are still struggling to build programs and incentives that support teaming as well. In 2019, technology is making team models of work easier: Organizations must now refresh the rest of our talent practices to keep up. Read the chapter

Rewards: Closing the gap
Organizations are exploring a dizzying array of perks and rewards to motivate their people. But they are not keeping up: In our 2019 survey, only 11 percent of respondents told us their rewards systems were highly aligned with their organizational goals, and 23 percent reported that they did not know what rewards their workers value. How can organizations develop rewards that align with more agile models for performance measurement and management, and at the same time address workers’ legitimate expectations and needs? A focus on building relationships with workers—and eschewing external benchmarking in favor of curating a differentiated suite of rewards—can help organizations close the gap. Read the chapter

The future of HR

How the HR function is stepping up to the challenge of redesigning its capabilities, technologies, and focus to lead transformation in HR and across the enterprise?

Accessing talent: It’s more than acquisition
In this 11th year of the economic recovery, recruiting has become harder than ever. As the job market remains competitive and organizations’ skills requirements undergo rapid change, it’s time for organizations to think about how they can continuously “access talent” in varying ways: mobilizing internal resources, finding people in the alternative workforce, and strategically leveraging technology to augment sourcing and boost recruiting productivity. Read the chapter

Learning in the flow of life
The number-one trend for 2019 is the need for organizations to change the way people learn; 86 percent of respondents cited this as an important or very important issue. It’s not hard to understand why. Evolving work demands and skills requirements are creating an enormous demand for new skills and capabilities, while a tight labor market is making it challenging for organizations to hire people from outside. Within this context, we see three broader trends in how learning is evolving: It is becoming more integrated with work; it is becoming more personal; and it is shifting—slowly—toward lifelong models. Effective reinvention along these lines requires a culture that supports continuous learning, incentives that motivate people to take advantage of learning opportunities, and a focus on helping individuals identify and develop new, needed skills. Read the chapter

Talent mobility: Winning the war on the home front
As organizations globalize and compete aggressively for top talent, the importance of internal, enterprisewide talent mobility has become paramount. Organizations can no longer expect to source and hire enough people with all the capabilities they need; they must move and develop people internally to be able to thrive. A new set of norms governing internal mobility is needed to do this well. At leading organizations, mobility should be perceived as a natural, normal progression instead of as a major change in one’s career; opportunities to move should be extended to workers at all levels, not just managers and team leaders; and technology should enable a streamlined mobility process for moves between functions, jobs, and projects as well as geographies. Read the chapter

HR cloud: A launch pad, not a destination
Cloud computing has gone mainstream, and organizations have spent millions on new platforms to make HR systems more engaging, personalized, and data-driven. Yet while cloud systems have gone a long way toward integrating the messy back office of HR, they aren’t all that's needed to better support innovation, raise employee productivity, and lower cost. In 2019, organizations must rethink their HR technology strategy, considering cloud as a foundation and exploring innovative new platforms, automation, and AI-based tools to complement their core systems. Read the chapter

Human Capital Trends 2019 by importance and readiness

Explore the results in more detail

Global Human Capital Trends library

Explore years of trends that helped shape the current HR and talent landscape

Deloitte has been conducting and compiling global research into human capital trends since 2012—a body of work that represents some of the longest-running and most comprehensive study of HR, talent, and related technology topics ever conducted. Exploring past trend reports gives insight into the ongoing and emerging forces shaping the world of work.

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