COVID-19 proved that people and organizations are capable of tremendous growth under the pressure of a crisis. The challenge for many will be to sustain that momentum to discover new ways to thrive in the long term, even as disruption constantly resets the path forward.

In the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, they set out to understand what characteristics can support organizations in the shift from survive to thrive. We started our exploration by asking a paradoxical question: How can organizations position themselves to thrive when they are focused on making the changes necessary to survive?

To find out, they surveyed 6,000 professionals across every industry, sector, and region of the globe, with 99 countries participating. 3,630 of this year’s respondents were senior executives. 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. We asked them about their experiences since the pandemic began, seeking to understand how the crisis affected the way they viewed organizational preparedness, the challenges and opportunities they expected to face in future disruptions, and their plans for approaching work transformation strategies moving forward.

From this research, they learned that the organizations that were best prepared for the COVID-19 crisis were already adopting a “thrive” mindset of using disruption as an opportunity to propel the organization forward. The 15% of executives who said that their organization was “very prepared” for the pandemic were 2.2 times more likely to pivot investments for changing business demands. The “very prepared” group was also twice as likely to use technology to transform work. And most importantly, those who were “very prepared” were twice as likely to recognize the importance of organizing work to facilitate rapid decision-making and nearly three times more ready to leverage worker adaptability and mobility to navigate future disruptions.

While it may not be obvious, these last findings highlight that organizational 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 organization and its future. COVID-19 proved that people and organizations are capable of tremendous growth under the pressure of a crisis. The challenge for many will be to sustain that momentum to discover new ways to thrive in the long term, even as disruption constantly resets the path forward.

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Deloitte 1-2021 di_human-capital-trends

 

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