2020 will be remembered as one of the most infamous years in our lifetime. Last year, no one could have predicted how the global COVID-19 pandemic would impact the workplace. The start of a new year provides an opportunity to look towards the future. Looking towards the future, HR trends will work to adapt to changing landscapes quickly and efficiently.
Create a Skills-sensing Network
COVID-19 caused many employees to learn new work skills in a very short period of time. Moving into 2021, organizations will need to take a dynamic approach to reskilling and redeploying talent by creating a skill sensing network.
A skills-sensing network allows employees and employers to share ownership to identify and address the skills they need to remain competitive and productive. By working together to quickly identify skills needed, HR can adapt existing resources to quickly and efficiently develop new skills solutions.
Traditionally, the workplace has focused on efficiency, leaving organizations with rigid workflows, structures, and role designs that cannot meet the fast-changing conditions of the market. Looking ahead, HR leaders need to shift their focus to a future-forward design to ensure employees can be responsive, in-sync with consumer needs, in a position to anticipate those needs, and in a position to adapt their approaches accordingly.
A future-forward workplace strategy anticipates changes and develops agile strategies to meet challenges as they occur. Additionally, future-forward focus helps organizations:
- Realign work design to match the way work happens with ongoing adjustments to meet the changing needs of the workforce
- Clarify boundaries to improve prioritization of work efforts
- Identify how processes can flex to eliminate permission roadblocks
- Empowers employee development to help plan their own future
Enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Organizations will look to HR professionals for leadership in creating a more inclusive workplace. Events in 2020 placed a much-needed focus on the need for greater awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. This includes adopting or re-evaluating your organizational stance on diversity and inclusion and training employees to be more sensitive to their coworkers. It also means being more inclusive in hiring processes and providing leadership and mentorship opportunities to people from traditionally marginalized groups.
Not only will an enhanced diversity and inclusion program increase brand confidence, but it will also increase trust within the organization. A lack of diversity often undermines confidence and trust in leadership. In fact, nearly 50% of HR leaders report that their organization lacks diversity in leadership. Companies that implement diversity networking programs are 3.4 times more likely to report they are effective at increasing opportunities for talent mobility.
Identifying Future of Work Trends
According to a recent Gartner poll, 62% of HR leaders polled did not have an explicit future of work strategy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on the future of work. From more employees working remotely and accelerating certain trends to creating new productivity incentives and the increased use of employee data, an organization can distinguish itself as an industry leader based on its response to future crises.
In order to prepare for the unexpected, organizations must prepare an agile strategy for the future of their workforce. An agile future of strategy should consider the following:
- More employees working remotely
- Increased use of employee data
- The increased role of the workplace as a social network
- Larger implementation of a contingent or freelance workforce
- The adaptability of skills for evolving roles and job descriptions
Maintaining a Growing Remote Workforce
According to the World Economic Forum, the percentage of remote workers will rise from 16.4% before the outbreak to 34.4% during the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies offered the ability to work from home as a perk, but now it has become the norm for many businesses grappling with the ongoing ramifications of the pandemic. By 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month.
The evolving COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for a remote workforce, as well as increased demand for more flexible work conditions for employees. Moving into the future, organizations will look to HR to help maintain and potentially expand their remote workforce and hybrid workforce models. This may include developing flexible strategies to maintain and gauge productivity, goal setting, and employee evaluations for a larger remote workforce.
MenaITech: Helping Your Organization Navigate HR
Although 2021 is likely to provide its own set of unique challenges, it will also create an opportunity to create new and improved methods for how organizations manage their workforce. By planning ahead and building out your plan, your organization will be ready when the global workforce begins to shift again.
At MenaITech, we offer our clients complete end-to-end human capital information technology solutions and services, including payroll and personnel management, HR dashboards, data and analytics, time and attendance, and many other services through web-based, mobile, and cloud technology. If the global pandemic continues to disrupt your organization, your company can remain operational and productive as we all look towards the future.