The rise of the social enterprise
Future of Work insights
The rise of the social enterprise is a global trend and one that will influence how organisations will operate in the future.
In this podcast we will discuss:
- What we mean by the rise of the 'social enterprise'
- The characteristic of social enterprise organisations
- Which organisations exemplify the trend of being a social enterprise
- The challenges organisations will face
- Where Deloitte stands in becoming a social enterprise
Listen to the podcast and read the transcript below.
Human Capital Trends podcast
Hi, thanks for joining us, I’m Bob Hughes, a Director in our Human Capital Practice and am delighted to be joined by Dimple, a Global Leader for our Organisational Transformation practise and one of the authors of our 2018 HC Trends Report.
Dimple, I’d like to first start by asking about the HC Trends Report - the report was published in May this year with a common thread of the rise of the social enterprise running through it. For those who may not be familiar with the concept, could you summarise what it means and why it’s important for businesses to think about it?
Sure. It’s a very good question because we, as the team of authors, spent quite a bit of time thinking through what the theme and title of the report should be, so let me first define by what we mean by
A lot of people may misinterpret it given the word ‘social’ in the title. What we really mean by a social enterprise is one that combines revenue growth and
Great, thank you, and what would you say are the underlying characteristics of an organisation that is a social enterprise?
To make it come to life I think the way to think about it, and if you can visualise with me, is a graph which has an X and a
Great thank you, that really helps I
Yes, I think there are quite a few organisations out there who think about their purpose and mission as an organisation in that way. The example that comes to my mind because it’s one of my clients,
Their business policies and practices all stem from what’s at the heart of the company’s ‘Sustainable Living Plan’. For
But this is not just about people practices it’s about your supplier practices, it’s about how you go about marketing. I know and I won’t name the sites, but they have refused to advertise on certain sites because they know that those businesses don’t live up to the same values as them. They are a strong, very
That’s something I hadn’t heard about so thank you for sharing those examples. What do you think are some of the challenges that organisations will face when becoming social enterprises?
That’s a very good question and I guess a deep question for a lot of organisations because there are so many angles to this. I’ll explain a couple.
I think one of the things some organisations will find challenging is answering the question of how do you continue to make money whilst having a positive impact on society? We know there are lots of organisations and practices out there which don’t necessarily do that, and at the end of the day most of these public organisations have shareholders to answer to, so how are they going to strike a balance between keeping the shareholders happy whilst doing what’s right for the world, for society and for our communities?
I think the second challenge, and we say this as consultants, is the part that I mentioned about the X Axis on the characteristics of a social enterprise which is how leadership teams actually work together in a collaborative symphonic way. Whilst that sounds obvious we know there aren’t many organisations who actually are able to do this. I think that’s going to be a key challenge because it requires different ways of working, it requires a different
And the third thing I think is important is to have CEOs and leaders in organisations who stand up for certain things. We see a lot of CEOs like the Blackrock CEO, like Walmart, like Airbnb, a lot of organisations have stood up for different issues. I think that’s what is needed without being very obviously activist. I personally do believe that CEOs and leadership teams and organisations as a whole need to take a stance on some of the societal issues and go after them.
Great thank you. The social enterprise was identified clearly in the HC Trends Report this year, how do you think that this trend will evolve over time?
I can’t look into a crystal ball and I’m not a technologist to be able to predict technology, which has been one of the key drivers of disruption and we are talking about organisations in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. But I’ll have a go at this Bob. I think the way this trend will evolve is, as we have already seen, lines between organisations, lines between functions, lines between employers and employees will continue to blur. This means it will be hard to say what it is that an organisation stands for, or what a job means or what it means to be a worker.
I think all those lines are blurring, so we will go through a phase where it’s going to be important to deal with ambiguity and that’s where being a social enterprise or having very clear values and are clear on what you stand for becomes important. Irrespective of what that disruption looks like or irrespective of how organisations evolve this will stand you in good stead.
It will be your north star in terms of what you should do and how you should go about it. I strongly believe the concept of employers and employees and work offices and jobs are going away, and I think they will actually melt away in the next three-four year. So we have to be ready for this in the future and it’s important that we as individuals and we as organisations work out how we are going to adapt to this change.
Great, how do we help our clients address these challenges?
If you read the report you will see we talk about three macro trends, so I will try and answer this question within that
We talk about how the workforce ecosystem has changed drastically and quite strongly, the gig economy is here, the US already operates with 50% of the gig economy and the UK is getting close to that. But we as organisations still don’t have policies and the government still hasn’t put policies and laws out there which help us cope with this change. So I think as consultants we can absolutely help influence government policies and we can help organisations define or redefine the policies and processes and the technologies and systems to help them cope with the workforce ecosystem.
The same also applies to people’s roles which we have also talked about in our report. For example,
The other area I can pick up to answer this question Bob is through technology. We have talked in our report about AI and robotics and I think organisations are still working out how they are going to leverage these to achieve their business objectives in a far more effective way. We have the expertise and we have the technology to help our clients on that journey quite easily, and we should absolutely be playing a much stronger role in that.
I think the other area that we can really have an influence is the hyper-connected workplace. We know organisations are overwhelmed with all the technologies we have, we ourselves are using Facebook Workplace which is helping us connect in a
Thank you Dimple. Lastly, where do you feel Deloitte is in becoming a social enterprise?
I think we have made huge progress and I think we have done some things significantly differently in the last few years which puts us on the path to becoming a social enterprise. No one is quite yet there and we aren’t either, but a few things I will pull out is our programme called One Million Futures. Given that we are a professional services firm it’s well within our abilities to help with employability and skills development for a lot of people out there, which helps them chart their future out and I think we have done some fabulous work in that space. I think a lot of things we have done to ourselves, like our new building at 1NSS, the collaborative tools we talked about earlier like Facebook Workplace. A lot of things we are doing from a wellbeing perspective like our Flourish programme and a few changes we are making to our promotion processes and award processes are all steps towards us becoming a social enterprise.
There is a lot for us to do around artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, I think that’s one space where we can do more. I think the open talent economy is an opportunity which we started doing well through our