Approaching the Future launches its 4th edition with the aim of analysing reputation and management trends of intangible factors and identifying the most significant trends that mark the business agenda in the global issues of reputation, brand, sustainability, ethics and transparency. This year, as a new feature, the application of artificial intelligence techniques to analyse the relationship between the management assessments and the projects and initiatives that organisations are currently developing will be incorporated. The report has been prepared by the Corporate Excellence-Centre for Reputation Leadership together with the consultant, Canvas Sustainable Strategies and in partnership with the Association of Communication Directors, Dircom.
1. Humanise technology: disconnect to connect
Technology has changed the way we interact with one another. Today, it is present in all aspects of professional and personal life, making the boundary between the two aspects become increasingly blurred. Agility and flexibility are the new keys to working environments, generating new ways of working that empower people and giving them the “power” to optimise their time, improving proactivity and their creativity. This also affects the need for professionals to have new skills and abilities. According to the study, Skill Shift: Automation and the future of the workforce by the McKinsey Global Institute, the future of work requires structural changes that enable it to adapt to new realities.
In this regard it is also important to note that technology is redefining not only the way people work, but also the way they live and where they live. Thus, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD) by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. This leads to new digital services emerging which seek to respond to urban needs such as mobility, housing or leisure.
2. The future of work: agile and with values
Digitalisation and automation have changed the way we work and our working environments. This is a challenge for organisations as they will have to be more agile and flexible with their professionals.
New technological, social and emotional skills are increasingly sought. This employee empowerment gives them the opportunity to optimise their time to improve their productivity and creativity. Similarly, according to a study by Accenture, 67% of workers consider it important to learn new skills to work with smart technologies in the coming years.
Society is placing more and more importance on company values. Thus, for 81% of workers it is important to find a purpose in their daily work and 78% value working on a project that is in alignment with their personal values. In this way, corporate values and culture become a strategic tool that will set the trend for future work.
3. Corporate culture reinvents itself
The empowerment of women is a reality. The issue of equal opportunities is one of the major cross-cutting goals of the 2030 Agenda. The empowerment of women is a reality. Thus, through movements such as #MeToo, the social and political conception of women that previously existed has been brought into question. Women are thus demanding a new position in public and political arenas. In this regard, following research on this movement, the Harvard Business Review concluded that 20% of workers say that it has brought about a tangible change, and 48% of the workers surveyed said that they had experienced harassment.
According to the World Economic Fund (WEF), only 34% of women hold managerial positions in companies. This therefore raises the issue of a new corporate challenge that must be faced and in which top executives have a fundamental role to play in eradicating inequality.
Corporate culture is refocusing with a new goal: to become a tool to eliminate the power structure that silences gender issues.
4. The SDGs, from commitment to action
According to the survey conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 78% of companies worldwide are aligned in some way with the SDGs. However, only 10% of companies worldwide report that they have specific goals or action plans.
The UN has identified technology as one of the main tools to be used to achieve sustainable development. Thus, Big Data stands out by revolutionising the way information is collected and processed. This is coupled with the opportunities to make improvements through the Internet of Things, e.g.: health treatments and other areas.
5. Investors’ ethical requirements increase
The social commitment to change has become evident in recent years with the formalisation of various global commitments related to sustainable development. This has led investors to take a greater interest in incorporating social and environmental criteria.
According to Spainsif, approximately 185,614 million euros are managed in Spain under environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, representing a 46% share of the national market. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer on investors, globally, 89% of investors state that their entities lean more towards these criteria and 63% state that this has occurred in the last year.