“The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."
If 2019 was the year which saw the rise of people analytics and employee experience, 2020 is expected to bring in some newer trends that will reshape our world of work. It is not just the year that will witness the rise of the gig economy. Human-machine collaboration is on the rise and your next co-worker could be a machine. While we have been stressing upon the importance of continuous learning to be fit for changing jobs, the very nature of jobs is going to change. Job redesign is a trend which is expected to witness a major surge as our world of work transforms further.
Just like job redesign, what should be those key trends you should closely keep your eyes on in 2020 as talent leaders? Here is a brief compilation of the 10 most critical trends that will shape the world of work in HR and 2020 by People Matters. Bookmark them because they are going to be your shining beacons in the year ahead.
The era of EX!
As the world of work undergoes disruption, embraces digital and faces a fierce war for talent and skills, creating an employee experience (EX) that differentiates employers and actually retains talent is going to be critical in all aspects. Creating an ideal employee experience to match the needs of changing workforce dynamics at work — still seems to be undervalued and has a long way to go. Creating an employee experience that is in tune with the expectations of the workforce and workplace both, needs to be a business priority for not only HR leaders today, but also the CEOs.
2020 will be the year of the experience economy where employees will be significantly impacting the business bottomline with their intrinsic willingness to serve the company and its customers. The rule is simple: Better employee experience; better customer experience. In 2020, we can safely say, we are entering into an era where employee experience will be bigger than before and the year will see a shift of focus to employee experience platforms (EXP).
Learning in the flow of work
Learning is a purposive quest to retain and improve competitiveness, productivity, and innovativeness in uncertain technological and market circumstances. No more is this quest becoming more significant than in this era where professional development strategies are becoming a game-changer when it comes to retaining talent. Experts note in 2020, companies may prefer to up-skill existing staff than hire new ones. 'Learning in the flow of work' as coined by global expert Josh Bersin will become the norm. For HR in 2020, the focus should be on empowering employees to integrate learning with work and skill themselves through system generated personalized learning suggestions basis their individual aspirations. Expect Learning Management Platforms to undergo a significant change as organizations become more attuned to the idea of continuous learning and technology continues to change the way employees learn on the job.
Technology: From an essential to a transformation driver
Technology is no more a tool that is just nice to have. Rather, it has moved to being a driver of change and transformation in all facets of work and HR and will continue to do in 2020. Be it the rise of the collaboration tools for teamwork, the rise of AI tools in recruitment, assessment, selection, salary advice, learning, career management, the rapid evolution of chatbots and employee experience platforms, or the rapid use of AI for coaching and mentoring, technology has occupied centre stage in all facets of the HR and work function. However the focus in 2020 will shift faster from mere implementing technology for technology's sake to deeper integration for driving productivity and delivering a much more holistic employee experience.
Data and AI: Your best allies
AI and Machine Learning have been catalysts in accelerating the growth of every industry. And HR is no exception. HR departments now can leverage data to make less biased hiring decisions, engage employees, design personalized learning journeys and career paths, and provide a personalized HR touch to every employee. Similarly, AI and ML are changing the whole function and making it more efficient, intelligent and progressive. Right from attracting to hiring to engaging to developing to growing and coaching employees, AI will be applied to the entire lifecycle HR, thus allowing HR to demonstrate greater business relevance and accountability and impact the world of work like never before. Moving on from the era of people analytics, the shift will be towards analytics for people.
HR’s mantra for 2020: Up-skill & re-skill
As organizations focus more on learning and upskilling talent, they also need to take a look inward and focus on upskilling the HR teams. As per the People Matters State of HR Technology 2019-20 Report (250 respondents across 208 leading corporates), only 23% of respondents have a structured program to train HR in Digital Technologies while only 20% have formal KRA for their HR teams that include digital projects. There’s a strong need for a re-skilled HR team – a team that can handle the nuances of the current changes, meets stakeholder’s expectations by becoming a partner and creates a workplace which is future-ready. Up-skilling and re-skilling the HR team will remain a key focus area in the upcoming year.
Inclusivity over diversity
According to “White Paper: Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision-Making” study, “Inclusive teams make better decisions up to 87 percent of the time. Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions 2X faster with half of the meetings. Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60 percent better results.”
As we enter the next decade, the paradigm will be shifting from focusing on diversity for diversity’s sake to promoting inclusivity in the organizational culture. Gone are the days of solely focusing on recruiting more women to fill the diversity quota. The year 2020 will see a dynamic change as talent leaders prioritize designing workplaces that are inclusive towards not only the LGBTQ+ community but also encouraging inclusivity of thought, generations, cultural and educational backgrounds, distributed workforce, and leveraging the talent pool of differently-abled individuals, and getting talent from different educational backgrounds.
From man vs. machine to man AND machine
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, the workplace participants are expected to be comprised of about 48 percent human and 52 percent machines or algorithms. Up until the end of this decade, the equation between man and machine was marred with apprehension about losing human jobs to machines. However, as we enter the year 2020, the lines between humans and machines are getting blurry. The division of labor between humans, machines, and AI is transforming rapidly.
Human and machine hybrid activities will redefine the equation between man and machine. Keeping in mind this burgeoning human and machine partnership, talent leaders would have to create inclusive workplaces which will allow for both humans and machines to thrive together.
Bringing sustainability at the core of workplaces
Year 2019 saw a huge revolution coming from the workforce across the globe. On 20th September, many from trade unions to a thousand workers at the Amazon headquarters, all walked out of their factories and offices to raise climate awareness. Many signed petitions against their respective employers to turn to more sustainable practices. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon even made several changes in the way they do business. While designing workplaces, companies are now looking to digitize the entire place and reduce the use of paper. As 2019 brought attention to the need for sustainable practices, HR leaders’ focus in 2020 will be to create sustainable workplaces. They will also work closely with the business leaders in creating sustainable business models that the talent would find meaning and purpose in.
Gig: From big to bigger
It is no secret that employers today must work towards developing holistic work environments that address the employees’ flexibility needs. And a remote work policy is an important factor when searching for a job with flexibility these days. Over the last 3-5 years, there have been ongoing conversations about the emergence of gig economy and whether it can become a job generation hub. Workers around the globe are opting for remote working options because it suits their working styles, helps them to maximize output and strike the right work-life balance.
According to Leadership Consultant & Coach, Dr. Flo Falayi, in 2020, the gig economy would continue to experience rapid acceleration and evolution, changes that would demand flexibility and adaptability. He said, “In this VUCA 2.0 world, businesses have become nimble and selective with what they focus on. More growth will lead to more disruption and uncertainty, so it's incumbent upon businesses to embrace VUCA 2.0 as the new normal and adjust accordingly.”
Redesigning jobs for the future of work
Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Survey 2019 found that 43 percent of respondents are redesigning jobs as a way to prepare for the future of work. This trend is expected to continue in 2020 as HR and business leaders continue to wrap their heads around the changing demands of talent and the rapidly evolving business environment. With elements like automation, the demand for purpose-driven work, the varied demographic dividend, job redesign is critical to ensure organizations prepare their workers to embrace new technology and future-proof their skills. To derive maximum value out of the investment made in reskilling employees, redesigning jobs is essential.