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The Increasing Value of Peer to Peer Interactions

Posted September 13, 2018 by Jonathon Jackson

A summary of 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise”

Enterprise is becoming increasingly social. People are using peer-to-peer interactions to learn, grow, and get things done. Networked relationships and reputation fuel buying decisions and employment choices. Social consciousness, including having and fulfilling a mission, is now one of the dimensions organizations are evaluated on by stakeholders. Leaders and human resource departments are taking note as they face the future.

That’s the theme of the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise,” which highlights a major shift in how an organization’s purpose is shaped. The report, which surveyed more than 11,000 business and HR leaders around the world, makes it clear that organizations are now being assessed more and more on how they interact with their employees, their customers, and their communities, and what their general impact is on society.

Deloitte’s report recognizes that social capital now ranks with physical and financial capital in terms of their value to an organization’s success. Business leaders are compelled to build relationships by listening, acting transparently, enhancing collaboration, and establishing credibility and trust. At stake is an organization’s reputation, as well as its ability to attract and retain top talent, not to mention customer loyalty.

The report highlights 10 major trends that, together, create an integrated view of social enterprise in 2018.

1. The Symphonic C-Suite: Teams Leading Teams

Deloitte defines the “symphonic C-suite” as a model in which an organization’s top executives work together as a team while each executive also leads their own team. This model requires complete connectivity and collaboration in order to ensure that everyone’s vision is consistent. Leaders are enabled by this model to understand, manage, and respond to social capital issues facing the organization, which in turn allows them to prepare agile and coordinated responses to opportunities and risks, and build relationships with internal and external stakeholders. A company’s C-suite is so crucial that it is directly responsible for leading the organizational response to the other nine trends Deloitte spotlights in this report.

2. The Workforce Ecosystem: Managing Beyond the Enterprise

Business and human resource leaders recognize that the trend toward hiring contractors, freelancers, and gig workers will continue to increase. The business/social enterprise must develop relationships with these external workforce segments, and such relationships must be actively and strategically managed. An important element in these relationships is learning how to bring culture and management practices into alignment with external workers in ways that work for both parties.

3. New Rewards: Personalized, Agile, and Holistic

Employees are increasingly asking for their rewards to be more personalized, agile, and holistic. Only 8 percent of survey respondents indicate that they have been “very effective” at creating a rewards program that reflects this new reality. The challenge is to develop and implement a holistic system that continuously matches rewards to individual preferences across diverse workforce segments.

4. From Careers to Experiences: New Pathways

A steady progression along a job-based pathway is no longer the reality. Now, the focus is on the individual worker and their experiences, empowering them to effectively manage their own career. Business leaders are responding to this by embracing a model that enables workers to acquire valuable experiences, explore new roles, and continually reinvent themselves. As the skills landscape is shifting and being reshaped by technology, organizations must take this trend seriously in order to attract and retain good workers.

5. The Longevity Dividend: Work In An Era of 100-Year Lives

An aging population and people living longer lives is an opportunity for organizations to partner with older workers to develop new career models. This partnership can bring to them a set of workers who are diverse, proven, and committed. There are challenges in this trend, notably age bias and pension shortfalls, but they can be overcome through collaboration and through innovative practices and policies designed to support extended careers.

6. Citizenship and Social Impact: Society Holds the Mirror

An organization’s core identity and strategy can now be defined by its track record of corporate citizenship and social impact. Areas like diversity, gender pay equity, income inequality, immigration, and climate change can be engaged with other stakeholders, resulting in a higher brand value and financial performance. Conversely, neglecting these issues can alienate key audiences and ruin a company’s reputation. This must be a top priority for any social enterprise.

7. Well-Being: A Strategy and a Responsibility

The line between work and life is not so clearly defined any more. Employees know this, and they are increasingly demanding that organizations expand their benefits offerings to include programs that address physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health. This means that a company should invest in well-being initiatives as both a societal responsibility and a talent strategy.

8. AI, Robotics, and Automation: Put Humans in the Loop

In-demand roles and skills are being transformed by the influx of AI, robotics, and automation into the workplace, but these roles and skills are still focusing on the “uniquely human” as opposed to the purely technical. More than half of survey respondents see a huge future need for skills like complex problem solving, cognitive abilities, and social skills. There is a strong recognition that humans must be in the loop in order to maximize the potential value of new technologies while minimizing adverse impacts on the workforce. Work architecture – reconstructing work, retraining people, and rearranging the organization – includes all of the important tasks that must still be done by people.

9. The Hyper-Connected Workplace: Will Productivity Reign?

A strong majority of survey respondents agree that workers will continue to spend more time on collaboration platforms – “work-based social media” and instant messaging will grow as these personal tools increasingly become part of the workplace. Hyper-connectivity can lead to hyper-productivity, and leading companies will use their expertise in team management, goal-setting, and employee development to ensure improvements in individual, team, and organizational performance, and in the necessary collaboration that helps to build a true social enterprise.

10. People Data: How Far is Too Far?

There are tremendous opportunities to be found in the proliferation of both data availability and the tools that allow that data to be analyzed. But there are certainly risks too, among them employee perceptions of how their personal data is being used, and potential legal liability if data is misused. Organizations must meet the challenge of developing well-defined policies, security safeguards, transparency measures, and ongoing communication around this issue. Failure to do so can have significant ramifications, including employee, customer, and societal backlash.


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