Organisations have to put humans at the centre of their business strategies and, as technology evolves, it’s imperative that we find new ways to learn.

In its “2019 Global Human Capital Trends” report, “Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with a human focus”, Deloitte examines how organisations can reinvent themselves on a broad scale by interacting, motivating and personalising experiences with the workforce to help build identity and meaning for workers.

Completed by nearly 10 000 respondents in 119 countries, including South Africa, Deloitte’s 9th annual Global Human Capital Trends report is the largest longitudinal survey of its kind.

The leading trend to emerge in this iteration centres on a growing demand to reinvent the way people learn.

Leading organisations are empowering individuals and providing for their need to continuously develop their skills, by investing in new tools to embed learning into the flow of work as well as the flow of an extended life and, as a consequence, an extended career.

Despite this, a very small proportion of respondents said their organisations are ‘very ready’ to address this topic.

In South Africa, 51% of respondents are exploring automation and 58% state they are using automation to replace repetitive work.

The ongoing adoption of automation technologies amplifies the need for continuous learning, as most respondents reported the latter is ‘important’.

Even with advancements in technology, human skills remain critical to augmenting value. Some organisations are considering redesigning work into a new category of ‘super-jobs,’ which combines work and skill sets across multiple domains and opens up opportunities for mobility, advancement and the rapid adoption of new skills desperately needed today.

Even as part of the workforce re-organises into ‘super-jobs’, Deloitte Consulting Africa Human Capital leader, Pam Maharaj points out that lower-wage work across service sectors continues to grow, along with non-traditional contract, freelance, and gig employment.

“It is imperative that these jobs are not left behind as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the workforce of the future,” Maharaj says. “Organisations need to explore all options and create a culture which embraces technology while ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging and esteem.”

In the age of the social enterprise, organisations are being challenged to up their game when it comes to the employee experience they offer.

Slightly more than half of South African respondents said that they are ‘satisfied’ with the current work-related tools and technology available.

Most did not believe that they have enough autonomy within their jobs to make good decisions, providing further evidence that significant reinvention is required.

“Organisations need to shift from the traditional employee experience to a ‘human experience’. In this ‘human experience,’ relationships are enduring, learning is continuous and work has meaning that is centred around human identity”, says Maharaj.

Creating this ‘human experience’ requires a different type of leader. In South Africa 94% of survey respondents believed that “21st-century leaders” face unique challenges and requirements, making it critical for organisations to extend leadership pipelines to find and build leaders from within the organisation.

Currently, organisations are finding themselves in a job-seekers’ market as the war for talent rages on.

“Leaders should be shifting their focus from acquiring talent to accessing capabilities and taking a more expanded view of where skills can be found,” says Maharaj, “This can pay dividends in today’s fast-paced and high-demand business environment”.

In the study, 26% of respondents in South Africa felt that their rewards systems are highly aligned with their organisational goals whilst 23% said that they did not feel they knew what rewards their employees value.

“HR has a new mandate, beyond the administrative scope, to shape the future of work,” says Maharaj, “The entire organisation, led by a symphonic C-suite, needs to come together to take the lead in establishing the future of work. It is not just an HR responsibility.

“Organisations must reshape their approach to human capital, into one that has the worker in mind and create opportunities for continuous learning, accelerated development and professional – as well as personal – growth,” he adds.