Deloitte: From survive to thrive with a human touch

By Janet Brice
Organisations that use disruption to harness human qualities will not just survive but thrive in the future, according to Deloitte...

In a world in which Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots and drones are taking centre-stage, Deloitte points out the human touch is essential for organisations making the shift from survive to thrive mode in the post-COVID-19 business world.

“It’s our view that the shift from survive to thrive depends on an organisation becoming - and remaining - distinctly human at its core,” comment Deloitte in a new report, The social enterprise in a world disrupted .

“This is not just a different way of thinking and acting. It’s a different way of being, one that approaches every question, every issue, and every decision from a human angle first. And it’s not just a good idea, but a mandate for growth. 

“Today’s environment of extreme dynamism calls for a degree of courage, judgment, and flexibility that only humans and teams led by humans can bring. A predictable world can be effectively dealt with by algorithms and equations. A messy world cannot, even in an age of increasingly intelligent machines,” states the report.

According to Deloitte, for an organisation to combine revenue growth and profit-making with respect and support for its environment and stakeholder network, it needs to ground itself in the following set of human principles: 

  • Purpose and meaning
  • Ethics and fairness
  • Growth and passion 
  • Collaboration and relationships
  • Transparency and openness

“The human focus these principles bring to an organisation is what puts the social enterprise in a position to thrive - to continually reinvent itself on the back of perpetual disruption,” says Deloitte.

How prepared are you?

Deloitte surveyed 6,000 professionals across every industry and region in 99 countries and, for the first time in the survey’s 11 years, business executives outnumbered HR executives, underscoring the importance they placed on human capital issues in the COVID-19 crisis. 

A total of 15 per cent of executives said who said their organisation was “very prepared” for the pandemic were twice as likely to use technology to transform work and nearly three times more ready to leverage worker adaptability to navigate future disruptions.

“While it may not be obvious, these last findings highlight that organisational preparedness hinges on the ability to bring human strengths such as decision-making and adaptability to the fore, not just during a point-in-time crisis, but continually. 

“It means perpetually cultivating resilience, courage, judgment, and flexibility in order to navigate a turbulent reality. And it means taking the creativity unleashed by the need to survive a crisis - the creativity that is a hallmark of being human - and using it to reinvent the organisation and its future,” comments Deloitte.

How to harness human capital

In a bid to elevate the ‘human’ in human capital Deloitte refer to five topics in their 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report which explore how organisations can harness human strengths to make a company thrive. 

  1. Integrating workers’ physical, mental, financial, and social health into the design of work itself rather than addressing well-being with adjacent programs.
  2. Capitalising on worker agency and choice as the means to drive learning, adaptability, and impact.
  3. Creating teams and superteams that use technology to enhance natural human ways of working.
  4. Developing and acting on forward-looking insights using real-time data to harness workforce potential.
  5. Shifting HR’s role from standardizing and enforcing workforce policies to a new responsibility of re-architecting work across the enterprise.

“Organisations that use disruption as an opportunity to embody human qualities will enable them to thrive through disruption. Organisations that do not will quickly fall behind,” concludes Deloitte.


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