The human capital revolution is already underway. Its impact on company culture and people’s sense of purpose as employees of an organisation will be profound. And this is part of the reason that these changes are being implemented. In a recent interview with Emily He at Forbes John Jersin, vice president of product management for LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions and Careers unit, said: “We see that 64% of Millennials define a good job as one that they’re proud to talk about.” He also indicated that 40% said they want to “feel passionate” about what they do.


These statistics in themselves aren’t news – corporates have been talking about how to attract, engage and retain post- Baby Boomers, with their deeper need for purpose, for nearly two decades. But they are still newsworthy in that they point to the continuing struggle for companies to make their employees “feel passionate”.


From creating skills development programmes that provide ongoing opportunities for employees to learn both technical and interpersonal skills, to positioning themselves as socially and environmentally conscious employers, to flexible working hours and mobility programmes, South African companies have worked hard to give their younger employees what they want in the workplace. And with some success.


But according to the South African findings in the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey,  while local companies rate the importance of new critical human capital trends (that speak to the demands of the post- Baby Boomer workforce) extremely highly, they do not perceive themselves as ready to respond. This could mean that many organisations miss the boat, and see a decline in the productivity and performance of their people as a result.


The ability to harness these trends, create a real sense of purpose for employees, and by extension improve performance, can be supported by an authentic, pro-active approach to managing culture. A company’s culture determines the accepted behaviour for every individual within it, from top leadership through to brand new graduate recruits. Successfully adopting and implementing key employment trends – like personalised rewards systems, AI and robotics or the shift from providing careers to providing experiences – depends on whether or not this accepted behaviour is aligned to them.


Companies trying to implement new workplace trends that aren’t aligned to how they position themselves, and how they behave, are setting themselves up for failure. This leaves two options:

  1. Stay away from trends that don’t align with your culture OR
  2. Take a proactive, hands-on approach to designing the culture you need to succeed.


Since these trends are driven by more than the desires of three generations in the workplace, option one can only lead to the ultimate collapse of the business. So it becomes critical for companies to manage their culture actively so that it can have a positive and sustainable impact on its people’s sense of purpose, and their performance.


Wondering if your culture is healthy enough to support human capital trends? Take our survey.


Posted by:Elaine Porter

I am a strategic business consultant who is passionate about helping companies match their insides to their outsides. In other words, I believe that an authentic business is a successful one. This means aligning internal and external marketing and communications activity with the company’s culture, or vice versa.