Deloitte’s decennial Global Human Capital Trends report looks back and ahead. 2020 marks the 10th annual Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report. Viewed through the lens of people and business, the past decade has been one of tremendous change—with more to come.

At the beginning of the 2010s, the world was gaining a foothold on economic stability following the great recession of 2007–2009. Governments had put new regulations and global standards in place to mitigate future risk, and started to play a bigger role in shaping business plans than ever before. Organizations buckled down with a renewed focus on cost and compliance. The decade’s dawn also saw the emergence of revolutionary technologies. Artificial intelligence, the cloud, and the explosion of data in the workplace exposed new business priorities and challenged conventional decision-making.

As we entered the mid-2010s, technology was viewed as a driver and enabler of every aspect of work. Humans and technology had become coworkers in ways that would have been difficult to predict even a few years prior. The information overload and the always-connected work environment overwhelmed workers, leading to lower productivity and employee engagement (1). Organizations had to consider redesigning jobs and working in ways that represented a fusion of, rather than a trade-off between, humans and technology. At this point, we found ourselves at the epicenter of the future of work.

In the late 2010s, it became clear that, alongside unlocking the combined power of humans and technology, new social forces were playing a pivotal role in the “new organization”. Many people voiced their frustrations that financial gains were failing to improve individuals’ lives and address larger societal problems.

The concept of the social enterprise was introduced, combining revenue growth and profitmaking with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network. The social enterprise expanded to the “new social contract”, proposing a more human-centered rewiring of the relationships between the individual and organization and the organization and society, to provide stability in a world that was rapidly changing.

Looking ahead, we appear to be returning to a period of uncertainty. Whether this uncertainty is a hindrance or a push forward depends on how we approach some of the inherent conflicts that are emerging. The good news is that we will approach these challenges with a vastly different mindset than the one we had at the start of the 2010s—the mindset of the social enterprise.


Paradox as a way forward

The power of the social enterprise lies in its ability to bring a human focus to everything it touches, empowering people to work productively with technology to create lasting value for themselves, their organizations, and society at large.

Driving the social enterprise’s accelerating momentum was a continuing societal shift toward individual empowerment and advocacy in workers’ relationships with their employers.

At the same time as these human concerns were playing out, another equally powerful phenomenon was underway: an intense focus on technology as a primary driver of the digital transformation.

However, through it all, most organizations viewed their efforts to address human and social concerns as wholly separate from their efforts around technology—both conversations ran on separate tracks. Now, however, it is time to challenge the view that technology and humanity are distinct domains, or even fundamentally at odds. The greater value comes from a fusion of the two.

A vision that fuses the human and the technological can enable people and organizations to transcend the most challenging conflicts that exist in organizations today by making three bold shifts:

 - Fostering belonging amid a desire for individuality. Technology creates a world where anything and everything can be individualized; yet humans desire a sense of belonging to a larger whole. What if, instead of creating divisions, individuality could become a source of strength born of bringing together unique, complementary abilities in the pursuit of shared goals? To accomplish this, organizations need to optimize the power of individuals by connecting them through their purpose at work.


 - Creating security in a world of reinvention. Technology creates the need for people to constantly reinvent themselves; yet humans still desire a sense of security. What if, instead of being perceived as a threat, reinvention could become the means for finding security during ongoing change? To accomplish this, organizations need to leverage reinvention to increase their people’s potential for long-term success at work.


 - Taking bold action in an age of uncertainty. Technology creates a sense that anything that can change, will; yet humans desire a sense of certainty to support bold steps forward. What if, instead of prompting doubt, uncertainty could give rise to new possibilities: the opportunity to shape the future through decisive action? To accomplish this, organizations need to transform uncertainty into an informed perspective that helps them confidently navigate the future of work.


The attributes of purpose, potential, and perspective are admittedly complex. Organizations have tended to view the conflicts within each as trade-offs: belonging or individuality, security or reinvention, boldness or uncertainty. But part of embracing the seeming paradox of fusing the technological with the human is to look beyond trade-offs to find ways to integrate these seemingly opposed parts.

In this series of articles, we will introduce you to each of the 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital trends. We will demonstrate how organizations can work within an environment shaped by the fusion of technology and people to embed purpose, potential and perspective into the DNA of how they operate.


If you would like more information on The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward, please contact the Deloitte Banking and Human Capital Leader, Pascal Martino.

And if you would like to view the full 2020 Human Capital Trends report, please download it here:

Look for our next article “A memo to HR: Expand focus and extend influence” to understand how HR has the opportunity to embrace the future, expand its reach and focus, and assume the leading role at the vanguard of work, the workplace, and the workforce on behalf of the enterprise.


Communicated by Deloitte Luxembourg


(1)Jeff Schwartz et al., "The overwhelmed employee," Deloitte Insights, 7 March 2014.

Publié le 01 juillet 2020