It’s not news that the world is changing at such a rapid pace, in almost every area, in such a short time. It wasn’t that long ago that matters like #MeToo movement was just beginning to cause awareness, cannabis was no where near close to becoming legal and artificial intelligence was only real in movies. With all these changes in our world, come changes in who we work with, the way we work, and how we structure our work, and HR is definitely being challenged. Let’s take a quick look at some of the major trends that we’ve seen so far this year, what’s to come, and how to adjust to these changes with more ease and efficiency.
1. Workplace Demographics
The workforce has become so diverse in almost all industries from employing different capabilities, backgrounds, cultures, genders and age ranges that shape who we work with. There are more younger employees entering the workforce with more forward-thinking and tech savvy attributes, and though these are great opportunities for those individuals, there are just as many older employees working longer and well past the typical retirement age. This can cause some conflicts and clashes in work styles and expectations. One way employers and managers can ease this gap and bring all employees to a common ground is to act as mentors to younger employees and to allow for open communication and understanding, so that employees are clear in what is expected of them. On the flip-side, when it comes to managing older experienced employees, employers need to value and respect their experience. Stick to the basics of open communication and flexibility and take some time to familiarize yourself with their work preferences and learning styles. It’s also important to integrate their work styles within change processes to allow for smoother transitions. This becomes an effective approach to mitigating potential clashes and demoralizing feelings. By 2020, we can expect to see almost five generations of workers from diverse backgrounds working together, so its critical we focus on how to collaborate effectively.
2. Technology and How We Work
The acceleration in technological advancements are drastically shaping how we are doing work and include globalization, virtual workplaces and artificial intelligence to name a few, and although this may sound daunting for the workforce and seem like jobs are being “taken over”, its far from that and is a very exciting shift in how we are working. These advancements play a key role in the landscape of the workplace today and allows for fluidity in the kind of talent we see. Most repetitive, tedious, day to day tasks are being taken over by artificial intelligence, which is effective in ensuring consistency and efficiency in turnaround times and to allow for human capital to focus on more complex, creative and innovative tasks. On the other hand, we’ll begin to see a lot more automation and robots in industries where we still have skill gaps such as hospitality, retail and agriculture. Businesses are bracing themselves for an influx of not just millennials, but A.I. and robotics, which are expected to transform the work environment in almost every aspect, reshaping ‘the 2020 workplace’.
3. Remote Work and Flexibility
Working remotely is becoming more popular and the norm and is almost expected from most employers. One of the main benefits and perks employees look for is the ability to have this kind of flexibility with their workdays and hours. These flexible work arrangements are again possible with digital technology, A.I. and the plethora of collaborative tools available to remain constantly connected. Employees have the capability to work around the clock and around the world, tending to business at any hour of the day and creating more of a work-life integration. There have been positive results and a definite increase in performance and motivation in work environments where employees’ needs are met and where they are heard. To ensure that your business adapts and thrives, you need to learn to be flexible as an employer and shed some of those traditional work styles that are no longer effective today. Loosen the grips on employees whose physical presence is not required to conduct their work because the future workplace will be more virtual, and there will be tools to monitor employee productivity and performance.
In 2018, Randstad pinpointed digitization, a multi-generational workforce and employee wellness as some of the biggest trends. While these issues are still relevant in 2019, there will be some new issues that will come to light and be focused on. Human resources teams can expect to be dealing with more social issues such as diversity and inclusion to changing laws and regulations and issues like wage inequality and the environment, which we are already seeing with Bill 2 in Alberta. Its no longer just about work-life balance anymore as the boundaries and lines have become blurred. The focus has become more about work-life integration as our work has become so closely intertwined with our personal lives and values and how we uphold our morals. We can expect to see businesses and HR teams evaluate and focus on redefining their social responsibility policies and positioning who they are as employers come 2020.