Every year, Deloitte releases its findings from its Global Human Capital Trends survey to help organizations invest in and manage the trends that are shaping today’s world, and therefore, our workforce. While last year’s survey revealed the rise of the social enterprise, the 2019 release pivoted to leading the social enterprise—with a human focus.
Today, we’re going to dive into the top three insights in Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends report to support your efforts in building a holistic human capital strategy.
1. Employee experience as human experience
Improving employee experience (EX) is one of the most pressing issues organizations face today. Challenges related to productivity, burnout, well-being, and overwork have increased over the last five years. The always-on culture of today that permeates many workplaces continues to exacerbate these challenges, resulting in a sharp decline in job satisfaction and overall work environment.
Only 49% of organizations believe their workers are satisfied or very satisfied with their job, and 53% felt their organizations were effective or very effective at creating meaningful work. All of this boils down to one question: where have employers gone wrong?
Too often, organizations assume employees will just engage with their company’s culture, ideas, and results. They approach EX from the top-down, offering transactional corporate perks, events, and rewards as a means to inspire and motivate workers to do more work. True EX, however, is designed from the bottom-up—taking existing dispositions, workflows, processes, and places, and creating an experience that empowers employees to do their best work in a way that’s beneficial for them—not the not managers or employers.
While perks and rewards are important aspects to work, they fail to embody the actual human side of workers: deriving purpose and meaning from their jobs. This missing link has inspired what’s now referred to as human experience, which shifts the focus from work processes to the meaning of the work itself.
Employers can introduce human experience into their workplace by providing context to the work employees do, day in and day out. Show the individual impact on their customers. Put a face to a name. An authentic human experience enables every employee to perform in a positive, productive, and personal way by connecting people with people.
Effective rewards programs are strategically designed to reinforce achievement, inspire high performance, and encourage retention. They speak to and accommodate the things your workforce wants and values. Yet 23% of respondents admitted they don’t understand what their employees’ find the most important.
Employers relied largely on industry and geographical benchmarking data to inform the competitiveness of rewards. For years, this method proved sufficient for workers, and organizations were therefore content with this one-size-fits-all approach. But our workforce has evolved, and their needs and wants extend beyond compensation, benefits, and retirement plans.
Rather than focus on benchmarks, employers should focus on cultivating relationships to reshape rewards programs. Such programs should reflect employees’ individualized needs and wants: finding meaning in their work, healthy well-being, learning and development, and career progression. Now, tailored rewards depend wholly on what your target candidates consider a high priority, which can change from business to business.
For example, America’s workforce is commuting from further distances, for more extended periods, than ever before: 53 minutes roundtrip, every single day, with the majority driving alone. As a result, commuting has become a major source of stress for thousands of workers; some of which wind up leaving their jobs because of the commute. Meanwhile, many organizations continue to provide pre-tax benefits, of which don’t ease the burden for these drive-alone commuters.
To tailor this program to your unique workforce, survey your employees and find out how they get to work. Depending on what you learn, you might consider expanding your transportation portfolio beyond traditional pre-tax benefits to address their commute and improve their well-being specifically.
Broach the subject head-on, build relationships with workers, and find out exactly what they want. At the end of the day, it’s the programs that are the most thoughtful, intentional, and personalized that will attract, retain, and inspire your people. Only then will you have a rewards system that truly makes a difference to your workforce.
3. Internal talent mobility
Employees generally find it easier to seek new opportunities rather than explore roles within their current organization. With record-low unemployment rates and growing skills shortages, employers can’t afford any more turnover if they want to sustain a healthy growth trajectory. So, internal mobility—effectively moving people among jobs, projects, and geographies—has become a hot-ticket item for C-suite executives, with 76% of survey respondents rating it a top three most urgent issue. All the while, only 6% of respondents believe they are excellent at moving people between roles. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Before employees would even consider moving roles or functions, they need an efficient system that makes such transitions as smooth as finding a new job externally. As it turns out, a lack of processes is the number one barrier to internal mobility, with the availability of internal employees to fill roles and managerial resistance falling close behind. And this is a huge problem considering internal mobility can increase collaboration, innovation, and of course, retention.
For organizational leaders to bridge the internal talent gap, they must redesign the existing norms that dictate internal mobility. Rather than limiting mobility to executives, for example, provide growth opportunities for employees at every level. Or, consider taking a page out of AT&T’s book: after upskilling employees by providing direct education, professional development, and tuition assistance, they filled half of their tech management roles and obtained nearly half of the available promotions—all within three years.
Whether it’s through human experience, strategic rewards programs, or talent mobility, people across the world are seeking purpose and meaning in their work, and a deeper connection to their employers. Without the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by our workforces, we couldn’t scale; we couldn’t meet key business goals. As the saying goes “a company is only as good as its people.” So, let’s be good, and do good by our people.