In response to unrelenting digital disruption, many leaders are rethinking how they value and invest in their workforces. Across the business landscape, corporate leaders are seeking to develop more flexible, adaptive, and valuable workers. Our global research study directly addresses this challenge. Based on a survey of nearly 3,900 respondents and 18 executive interviews, we find that the most effective approaches to achieving a higher-value workforce have a common core: opportunity.
Targeted investment in opportunity is fast becoming the central organizing principle for making more people more valuable in more organizations. Our global executive survey and interviews identify the design of opportunity marketplaces as perhaps the key leadership challenge for most organizations seeking to ethically maximize human capital returns.
We see opportunity marketplaces as systems, digital platforms, and virtual places where organizations provide — and workers find — the opportunities most relevant to their mutual benefit and success. In an effective marketplace, the enterprise offers its workers defined options for professional development, mentorship, project participation, and networking, among others. Empowered workers, in turn, can choose to pursue those opportunities they most value. Vibrant, robust, and inclusive opportunity marketplaces strategically align both individual and enterprise aspirations. Investment in greater workforce opportunity is seen — and understood — as an investment in greater workforce value creation.
In our first year researching the future of the workforce, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte1 present this report highlighting the urgency and importance of this approach. We find that many leaders and workers alike are not satisfied with corporate investments in their development. Seventy-four percent of respondents believe that developing worker skills and capabilities is important to their organization’s strategy, but only 34% are happy with their organization’s investment in them. Nearly half of all workers surveyed are prepared to leave their organization if offered a buyout or severance package.
The corrective, our research shows, goes beyond a greater emphasis on workforce restructuring, retraining, reskilling, and “rightsizing” efforts. For many workers, more skills — and even better experiences — without more opportunity is insufficient.