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2018 & Beyond: Trends to Take Note of in Global Human Capital

Friday 20 April 2018 by AP Group HR

In the world of business, the traditional working model has dramatically turned on its head with changes in 2018 being driven by factors such as technology, changing expectations of talent and demographic shifts. All of this and more is driving a significant amount of change within – and outside of – the workplace. 

Today, the terms ‘Human Capital’ and ‘Business Growth’ need to be acknowledged and interconnected, and if businesses truly want to stimulate top line growth, they must become smarter about how they leverage their workforce to ensure such growth. However, it’s not just businesses that need to navigate and adapt to changes in technology, politics and economics, but individuals too. 


According to a report carried out by The Guardian newspaper, there are around three billion people working in the world today. As such, the marketplace is enormous and ever-changing, and many disruptive changes are taking place that businesses and employees cannot afford to ignore. 


Three of the biggest micro trends to drive this reinvention are technological changes, changes to the way we work and changes to the way organisations are managed.  


There is no doubt that technology is revolutionising the way we work, with apps, data, real-time communication, intelligent software and even increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) all influencing the workplace. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are also creating new jobs every single day. 


Smartphones, which are connected to the internet around-the-clock, now run sophisticated apps that perform heavy computational work. Further, cloud-delivered enterprise applications can be accessed over the web and are easily accessible from a mobile device. 


With new and exciting communications tools flooding the workplace, processes may have been sped up, but have efficiency and productivity actually been improved? 


In Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, they argued that greater connectivity has negatively impacted on productivity, with 47% of respondents highly concerned about the productivity of the “new workplace.” If we are to experience global productivity growth, it is essential that businesses integrate the right tools and programmes into the workforce. 
In relation to talent, the skill, knowledge and experience possessed by is individual are now more important than ever, with many workplaces, including major international cosmetics corporation, L’Oréal, making major changes to the way they operate. 


Two years ago, L’Oréal implemented a more collaborative workplace model called ‘Simplicity,’ a model designed to simplify operations, acknowledge employee skill sets and better address the complexities of business. 


Starting at the executive level, the concept behind ‘Simplicity’ was to inspire collaboration and stronger interaction between all of L’Oréal’s employees. This has ultimately led to the development of more products, a finer understanding of their customers and of course enhanced success, with the company having experienced a +6.8% sales growth in the first quarter of 2018. 


As the evidence suggests there are plenty of shifts taking place within organisations, particularly on a management level, with companies increasingly operating as “networks of teams” instead of “collections of teams,” with the goal to enable greater collaboration for heightened productivity. As such, having teams that possess skill, knowledge and experience all increase the value of an organisation, and all of these factors are just as critical as human, financial or physical capital in advancing an organisation’s goals. 


A shift in population structure is also being experienced as a result of declining birth rates, longer life expectancy and increasing immigration. According to Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of MIT’s AgeLab, technology, education and knowledge are changing so quickly that employees and businesses must be profoundly adaptable and flexible in order to succeed. 


In order for your business to maintain a competitive edge, it is essential to have top talent within your organisation. This means recruiting talent from all four or five generations and rethinking workforce development. These generations are the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, and Millennials, born after 1980. 


Businesses must adapt to a diverse workplace whilst successfully managing across generations in terms of language use, career, education across the workforce, compensation and benefits. A company that fosters robust, enduring relationships with every member of its workforce will be better able to find, recruit and engage with needed talent, while the relationships fostered within a team or department, also known as social capital, will make all the difference between a good team and a great team. 


Businesses must also ensure that everybody works together as a community, not a generation. The workplace must be free of bias as this will nurture a committed workforce that is passionate about the company mission and encourages profitability. 


We must also acknowledge the significance of millennials in the workplace, who, according to a recent AON Hewitt report, will comprise of 75% of the workforce by 2025. They are a generation regarded as extremely focused on self-development that thrives on learning new job skills and always sets new challenges to achieve. 


Millennials are having a very positive impact on our workforce and, since they are about to define a new generation when it comes to leadership and influence, it’s vital that they are encouraged to prioritise values, ethics, flexibility and feedback. Above all else though, the main driver of workplace change is that all generations learn to work alongside one another. 

In addition, an organisation that fosters good corporate citizenship is just as significant within a CEO’s strategy and will go far in attracting, engaging and retaining a critical workforce which can be challenging because today’s employees – particularly millennials – are showing greater willingness to switch jobs to secure specific benefits and find jobs that have meaning and purpose. 


Adapting to these changes will accelerate any company’s reputation as a business that drives progress on societal issues and business goals, thus augmenting its chances of nurturing long-term loyalty amongst customers. Further, it will enable it to attract more partners and investors, because responsibility is just as important as productivity. 


This new world of work wholeheartedly emphasises global human capital, the need for continual learning, a preparation for change, a rapid adoption of the latest (and most appropriate) technologies, an increase in collaboration and integration and the knowledge that a career is not a single entity.