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Deloitte Report Identifies Trust & Human Sustainability as Top Issues

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LONDON—Deloitte’s annual “Global Human Capital Trends” report has its finger on the pulse of the most pressing issues for organizations, leaders and workers. The 2024 report, “Thriving Beyond Boundaries: Human Performance in a Boundaryless World,” identifies seven trends that showcase how a combination of business and human outcomes plays a role in organizational success. This year’s analysis reveals that organizations making meaningful progress on these key issues are nearly twice as likely to achieve desired business and human outcomes.

Prioritizing human sustainability—the degree to which an organization creates value for people as human beings, leaving them with greater well-being, employability, and equity—can drive better outcomes for humans and businesses. The interaction of these outcomes leads to human performance, a measure that reflects the expectations of today’s workers and the rapidly shifting marketplace.

  • While 89 percent of executives say their organization is advancing human sustainability in some capacity, only 41 percent of workers say the same.
  • Less than half (43 percent) of workers say their organizations have left them better off than when they started. Workers identified increasing work stress and the threat of technology taking over jobs as the top challenges to organizations embracing human sustainability.

Defining New Metrics for Human Performance

Given work’s current dynamic, cross-functional, and less quantifiable nature, traditional productivity metrics like hours worked and time on tasks may be inadequate to capture human performance. Technology and data collection advancements are leading to more meaningful metrics for organizations. As data increases, organizations may have to consider what information should be transparent to their workers.

  • Half (53 percent) of respondents agree that their organization is in the early phases of identifying better ways to measure worker performance and value, and only 8 percent say their organizations are leading in this area.
  • Organizations that build workers’ trust in transparent data practices stand to benefit: When workers are confident that their organization is using their data responsibly, they are 35 percent more likely to trust the business, but only 37 percent say they are very confident their organization is using data in a highly responsible way.

Bridging the Gap from Knowing to Doing

This year’s research also includes several trends that focus on how organizations can evolve their mindsets and approaches to meet new challenges. One of the specific challenges highlighted is the rapid advances of artificial intelligence (AI) and Generative AI, which are putting a spotlight on the importance of workers honing their enduring human capabilities like curiosity and empathy to spark imagination.

  • Most (73 percent) respondents note ensuring human imagination keeps pace with technological innovation is important, but a mere 9 percent are making meaningful progress toward achieving that balance.
  • To close the imagination deficit, organizations should encourage innovation through digital playgrounds—which give workers the psychological safety to explore intentionally, tapping into their capabilities as they experiment with new technologies.

In addition to having the opportunity and tools to experiment, today’s workers also want the freedom to build microcultures tailored to each team’s needs, while still staying true to broad organizational values. To support these more autonomous and diverse teams, HR will also need to build “people expertise” capability throughout the organization to provide these skills at the point of need, rather than acting as a standalone function.

  • Seventy-one percent of respondents say that focusing on individual teams and workgroups as the best places to cultivate culture, fluidity, agility, and diversity is very or critically important to their success.
  • Leaders also recognize that changing an organization’s approach to HR can be very challenging—31 percent of C-suite respondents identified it as one of the three most difficult trends in this year’s report.

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