Top Workplace Trends & Future of Work for 2021
2020 has shown unprecedented times and now being called as the longest year in known history. As the year winds down to a close, we find that much has changed – almost every aspect of life as we know it and many things that we have known and held to be true have also been shaken.
As we look ahead to 2021, we find strong lessons to be learnt and the wind of change is blowing strong. Here are the important future trends that we need to watch out for in 2021
Practical Use of AI/ML in Talent Function
We will see an increased use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the talent function. More robust prediction systems will evolve to aid smarter management decision making and to navigate through situations. We are seeing a proliferation of technology products in this space and they will achieve maturity.
“We will see technology-aided “nudges” and “reminders” to moderate behaviour and help achieve goals as well as to teach new skills. Attitudes and habits.”
There will be increased opportunities for automation of repetitive, data-intensive and routine tasks with the advent of technology as well as better knowledge of such use cases.
The biggest and the most obvious learning has come from the rapid move to remote working. While the technology existed for several years, business travel has dramatically reduced during Pandemic and necessitated both the use and acceleration of technology to help in more effective and efficient remote working.
Businesses have also become more open to use of a virtual workforce, more flexible work schedules and contingent workers for skills that are critical, necessary, hard to find and sometimes just one-time. The very nature of remote work has made such workers more acceptable.
Reskilling of the workforce using a huge adoption of online learning methodologies has become a widely emergent trend.
Providing Positive and Unparalleled Employee Experience
New remote ways of collaborating, communicating, engaging and celebrating talent have emerged as a major trend in 2020.
The new tools are frequently mobile-first, almost always mobile-friendly. They integrate the various ways in which work gets done – sharing documents, screen casting, video conferencing and team meetings, instant messaging and phone calls.
There will be further growth in this space with more consolidation of tools as well as technology advancements to make remote working more efficient than having to switch from one tool to another.
The leading technologies in this space will emerge as the new platforms and “killer apps” and in the years to come, will overtake traditional workhorse apps such as word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, emailing and traditional video conferencing only software.
More evolved software will emerge for employee get-togethers and celebrations, reward platforms – and even a convergence of technologies in the consumer social media space with work-related collaboration software. The social side of work will also undergo major upgrades in technology.
Sophisticated Data-driven Decision Making in Talent Analytics
Talent function is increasingly seeing more sophisticated modelling and dependence on data-driven technologies for performance and potential assessment, critical talent identification, risk assessment and mitigation, decision support systems, forecasting, and planning as well as leadership development and succession planning.
These trends will continue and data-driven approaches will gain more ground with greater sophistication.
Preparedness for Risk Analysis and Mitigation
One of the more important lessons in 2020 has been preparedness for risk analysis and more robust planning on risk management systems. Broader risk assessment, preventive actions, and more collaborative approaches involving key players and stakeholders within the larger ecosystem – customers, partners, employees, employees’ families, and the larger society needs to be taken into account while risk planning.
Expanded Digital Footprint
Organizations will expand the digital footprint to include enterprise-level digital operations encompassing all the key functions from front-end to back. Data flow and communication will ensure nimbler, more responsive and more efficient organizations.
Focus on Mental Health and Wellness
Employee health is and will remain the top priority for companies. Implications of prolonged remote working, as well as the impact on health and wellness, will become more evident, and preventive steps will have to be taken. Overlapping work-life issues will need to be factored in and managed better at both organizational and individual levels.
Increased Importance of Business Agility
Agility will be the all-important organizational competency. Faster decision making aided by data-driven approaches and technologies and willingness to take actions in favour of customers and employees will be extremely important.
Much of continued success will depend on calculated and broader risk-taking coupled with intelligent agility.