Human capital trends: the state of organizational design

John Sherman

In the past several years there have been some major disruptions occurring throughout the corporate world and this is particularly true in the area of human resources and in development. A recent study by Deloitte has been released, called the GHTC or Global Human Capital Trends Report and it discusses the new organization design that we are seeing today.


The researchers who worked on the study state there are several global sources that are reshaping the workforce, the workplace, and work itself. This report offers many relevant findings that are important to consider for any business. The data from the report was compiled from over 7,000 responses to surveys, including those from corporate leaders from more than 130 countries throughout the world.

Information provided by the study

The information from this study has proven to be quite valuable for corporate recruiters, recruiting agencies, legal search firms, and executive search firms. First, the study provides critical ideas on how recruiting agencies can run a more effective business. Second, the report offers many “nuggets” of useful information about how potential consumers are running their businesses and organizations as well.

In order to run a successful business, you must truly understand all of the challenges that your consumers are facing regularly.

The research starts by identifying changes that are currently affecting corporate structures. These are:

  • Demographic shifts: over half of the workforce is now millennials
  • Pressure to increase speed of the time to get to market 
  • Digital information access 
  • Different social contracts for employees

The report also lists the top ten human capital trends, which are:

  1. Organizational design
  2. Culture
  3. Leadership
  4. Learning
  5. Design thinking
  6. Engagement
  7. Digital HR
  8. Changing skills of HR organization
  9. People analytics
  10. Workforce management

Today we are going to focus on the human capital trend of organizational design.

Organizational structure and design

One of the main points identified by the study is that there have been significant changes made in the organizational structure and design of businesses. The authors agree that companies are currently striving to become more customer focused and agile. This means that many organizations are changing their current functional and traditional organizational models to a newer model that’s interconnected and includes teams that are flexible.

One way to look at this change is to think of companies as though they were a team of hollywood movie producers and less like what a traditional corporate structure would be. Essentially, like a movie set, people within a corporation are coming together in order to complete a project and then disbanding to move on to their new assignments once they complete said project.

Here are some tips that are provided by the Global Human Capital Trends study:

  • Look at the design of your organization: consider reorganizing your business structure so that it consists of goal-driven teams that are focused on products, markets, or customers. It may make sense to create a team of managers to work on a specific talent pool or job type.
  • Analyze goals and rewards: instead of focusing primarily on individual performances, focus your performance management on the team leadership and the team performance. People should be rewarded for project results, collaboration during the effort, and for helping others. Consider using targeted incentives that motivate each team individually.
  • Implement new tools for teams: implement measurement systems and tools that will encourage your people to move between teams and to share information and collaborate with each other. Structure your business in a way that will help encourage your team members to work together in order to achieve the goals for the company. Finally, encourage communication and networking to ensure the entire company is successful.
  • Allow goal setting to be done by teams: it’s important to hold the teams accountable for their results. However, it is also a good idea to let the team decide how they will achieve their specific goals. Allow the teams to come up with the ways they will account for their performances, because this helps instill a sense of motivation in the team members and it also shows a level of trust.

Organizational design is clearly trending in the direction of a work environment that’s more focused on using teams rather than relying on individuals to perform a single task. There are many other human capital trends to consider when it comes to the global economy and we recommend having a look at the entire report on the subject from Deloitte. This report is available for free and contains a ton of information that can be extremely useful for embracing change in the new business environment we are engaging in.


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