Leadership: A Perennial Issue


By Quraish Baguma

Global organizations today must navigate a “new world of work”, one that requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent, and human resources.

In this new world of work, the barriers between work and life have been all but eliminated. Employees are “always on” hyper-connected to their jobs through pervasive mobile technology.

Networking tools like LinkedIn and Facebook enable people to monitor the market for new job opportunities quickly. Details about an organization’s culture are available at the tap of a screen, providing insights about companies to employees and potential employees alike. The balance of power in the employer-employee relationship has shifted making today’s employees more like customers or partners than subordinates.

“In this new world of work, the barriers between work and life have been all but eliminated.”

Many of today’s employees work in global teams that operate on a 24/7 basis. An increasing number of skilled workers in this new world work on a contingent, part-time, or contract basis, so organizations must now work to integrate them into talent programs. New cognitive technologies are displacing workers and re-engineering work, forcing companies to redesign jobs to incorporate new technology solutions.

Demographic changes are also in play. Millennials, who now make up more than half the workforce, are taking center stage. Their expectations are vastly different from those of previous generations. They expect accelerated responsibility and paths to leadership. They seek a higher purpose in their work. And they want greater flexibility in how that work is done.

For human resources (HR), this new world requires bold and innovative thinking. It challenges the current existing HR practices: how people are evaluated and managed, how they are engaged and developed into teams, how leaders are selected and how they operate. HR organizations now face increasing demands to measure and monitor the broader organizational culture, simplify the work environment, and redesign work to help people adapt.

For HR and talent teams, 2018 will be a critical year. As these forces gather momentum, we see 2018 as a time for creativity, bold leadership, and a fundamental reimagining of the practices HR leaders have used for years.

Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report is one of the most extensive longitudinal studies of talent, leadership, and HR challenges and readiness around the world. The research described in this report involved surveys and interviews with more than 3,300 business and HR leaders from 106 countries. (See the appendix to this chapter for details on survey demographics.) The survey asked business and HR respondents to assess the importance of specific talent challenges facing their organization and to judge how prepared they were to meet these challenges. Using these responses, a “capability gap” for each challenge was measured, highlighting the difference between an issue’s importance and an organization’s readiness to address it.

This year’s report explores ten significant trends that emerged from the research, which reflects four major themes for the year: leading, engaging, reinventing, and reimagining. It also presents the capability gaps associated with each of these trends, and offers practical insights to help organizations address each of these challenges.

All the data from this research can be viewed by geography, company size, and industry using an interactive tool, the Human Capital Trends Dashboard. This tool, availablemat https://www.deloitte.com/hcdashboard, lets you explore the data visually to see how talent priorities vary around the world.

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