What does it mean to be future-ready? What are the tangible changes that will take place in the workforce and workplace that HR needs to be ready for? What are the right questions to ask to help us reimagine the future of work?

Finding the answers to these questions is no easy task, but the recently published 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report makes an earnest attempt to do so. Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends report has emerged as an authoritative source that highlights the most pertinent contemporary human capital challenges and trends. This year, surveying almost 10,000 respondents from 119 countries, the report has pointed towards the rapid growth in the role of social enterprises, their impact on the future of work and how organizations must reinvent themselves accordingly.

Rise of the social enterprise

At the onset, the report announces that today’s conventional human capital challenges, like reinventing the capability to learn, improving productivity, and leadership development are intimately linked to the growing need to reinvent organizations as social enterprises with a human focus. The report defines a social enterprise as an organization whose “mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network”.

The CEOs who participated in the study cited the “impact on society, including income inequality, diversity and the environment” as the top measure of success in 2019, indicating that they fully realize the urgency with which organizations need to become social enterprises. However, the report notes that although CEOs have recognized the challenge, they are yet to solve it. “That’s because leading a social enterprise is not the equivalent of practicing corporate social responsibility. Nor is it about engaging in social impact programs or defining a purpose or mission statement – though all of these are also important in their own right,” the report states. This tectonic shift in the way we work requires a significant recalibration on a broad scale, which would naturally disrupt the existing model of work, workers and employers. This, alongside the Fourth Industrial Revolution and demographic changes, means that organizations need to reinvent themselves urgently. These changes have been broken down into ten human capital trends and how they will shape the future of the workforce, the organization and HR.

Future of the workforce

The report suggests that the ‘alternative’ gig economy has now become mainstream and the shrinking talent supply has forced leading organizations to strategically engage with all types of workers. Organizations must be more open and flexible to these new work arrangements and use them strategically. Next, in order to benefit from the increasing use of intelligent technology, organizations will realize that “virtually every job must change, and that the jobs of the future are more digital, more multidisciplinary and more data- and information-driven.” Thus, all jobs will be redesigned to emphasize on the ‘human dimension’ of work and will give rise to ‘superjobs’ – jobs that combine parts of different traditional jobs into integrated roles that leverage the significant productivity and efficiency gains that can arise when people work with technology.

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