The 10 Biggest Workplace Trends For 2018

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Deloitte has just released its Human Capital Trends 2018 report based on a survey of more than 11,000 human resources and business leaders around the world. The annual study, this year focusing on the rise of the social enterprise in the corporate world, is the largest longitudinal survey of its kind.

The report shows how the world of work is changing to be more personalised and connected, with formal hierarchies breaking down to be replaced by networks of teams.

It also highlights a shift facing business leaders in Australia — the rapid rise of what Deloitte calls the social enterprise.

“Society’s expectations of business are changing,” says David Brown, Deloitte Human Capital Leader.

“The focus is now clearly on business’ role in society as a driver of change, just look at the role they played in the marriage equality debate in Australia late last year.”

Here are the 10 human capital trends identified in the 2018 report:

The hyper-connected workplace

The challenge for organisations using new communication tools, including instant messaging and online collaboration, is to ensure they actually improve performance. According to Deloitte, 40% of Australian respondents say they expect face-to-face meetings and phone calls (31%) will decrease in the near future. To replace them, 68% predict an increase in instant messaging and 79% an increase in online collaboration platforms.

The Symphonic C-suite

The Symphonic C-suite is the next stage in the evolution of leadership models — senior executives play together as a team while also leading their own functional teams. Deloitte says Australian leaders appear to be better at collaborating than their global counterparts.

From careers to experiences

The concept of a career is evolving to a model that empowers individuals to acquire valuable experiences, explore roles and continually reinvent themselves. The Deloitte report found that more than half of the business leaders surveyed globally (54%) have no programs in place to build the skills of the future.

People data: how far is too far?

Organisations face a tipping point on data. They need to develop a well-defined set of policies, security safeguards, transparency measures, and communication around the use of people data, or risk employee, customer and societal backlash. According to Deloitte, more than half (56%) of Australian respondents say moderate to strong people data management policies are in place.

Wellbeing: a strategy and a responsibility

As the line between work and play continues to blur, employees are demanding benefits include a wide range of programs for physical, mental, financial and spiritual health. Employers are investing in wellbeing programs as both a social responsibility and a talent strategy. 39% of Australian respondents say they offer comprehensive wellbeing programs, including mindfulness, life balance and financial fitness.

Citizenship and social impact: society holds the mirror

Corporate citizenship and social impact now have a direct bearing on a company’s core identity and strategy. Deloitte says: “Engagement with external stakeholders on topics such as diversity, gender pay equity, income inequality, immigration, and climate change can lift financial performance and brand value, while failure to engage can destroy reputation and alienate key audiences.”

AI, robotics and automation: putting humans in the loop

Deloitte says 75% of Australian companies see AI, robotics, and automation as important but only 23% feel ready to navigate associated changes. “Leading organisations recognise that to gain maximum value from new technologies they need to find ways for humans to work alongside robots – reconstructing work, retraining people and rearranging the organisation,” says Deloitte. “The greatest opportunity is not just to redesign jobs or automate routine work, but to fundamentally re-think ‘how work works’ to benefit employers, teams and individuals.” Just 5% of Australian respondents say they are doing this.

The longevity dividend: work in an era of 100-year lives

Some forward-thinking organisations see extended longevity and population ageing as an opportunity to employ highly skilled workers. However, only 8% of Australian respondents say they are partnering with older workers to develop new career models to leverage their expertise.

New rewards: personalise, agile and holistic

Employees are increasingly asking for more personalised, agile and holistic rewards, including a focus on fair and open pay. “There’s a long way to go,” says Deloitte. Only 6% of Australian respondents say they offer personalised reward programs.

The workforce ecosystem: managing beyond the enterprise

The gig economy evolves. Deloitte says businesses need strategies to engage, manage and retain an increasingly hybrid work force. Globally, 37% of survey respondents expect a rise in contractors, 33% an increase in freelancers and 28% growth in gig workers.

Here’s how the survey respondents rated the trends:

Image: Deloitte

This post originally appeared on Business Insider Australia


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