With both digitization and the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the workplace, the future of work is changing in big ways. Looking forward, businesses must make changes to keep up and stay competitive and successful. Here are a few of the most important areas where businesses should make changes if they want to survive in the workplace of the future.
New Focus on Employees and Their Experiences
As more companies move toward completely remote work in addition to hybrid work models, they will need to take a closer look at their strategies for talent planning and management. The priorities of employees are changing, and if companies want to attract and retain top talent, they will need to ensure these new needs can be met.
To many people, a job is more than just work. Statistics indicate that employees today are willing to accept lower pay to take on more fulfilling work. A job should offer more than just a paycheck—employees want relationships, new experiences, and work that is meaningful. That means that employers need to adjust their approach and start focusing on a more holistic view of their employees. This is to the benefit of not just employees, however. A more engaged workforce can reduce employee turnover, decrease absences at work, and even improve productivity and sales.
Talent Management Today
Though recruiting new employees with the skills to succeed is an important strategy for any company, it is also important to consider the benefits of building talent from within and working to retain that talent. Now is the time for companies to introduce new skills and training opportunities to employees already entrenched in the organization’s culture. By upskilling their current workforce, employers will save money and start building a “learning-focused” culture. Overwhelming evidence shows that companies that perform well focus on offering in-house learning opportunities. Plus, according to research by McKinsey, nearly 63 percent of high-performing organizations are more likely to offer in-house training to employees for certain roles that can have an important strategic value, like those found in analytics.
A focus on reskilling current employees also helps keep the focus away from hiring with a short-term mindset. Instead, consider recruiting talent with the intention to keep them around long term. By building employee skills, particularly in relevant digital and software tools that may become vital in the future, businesses can keep top talent around for the long haul.
Workplace Flexibility: Is It Here to Stay?
The start of the coronavirus pandemic thrust many companies into an unexpected trial of remote working procedures. Though more common in the workplace in recent years, remote work has still been viewed with a healthy layer of skepticism by most. But now that organizations across a wide variety of industries have been put to the test, workers have discovered the benefits of a more flexible workplace structure. Now that remote work has been proven to be not only possible but effective, employees may no longer be content with a strictly in-person working environment. It is time for employers to embrace the need for flexibility in the workplace. Companies must ensure they have the technological capabilities to facilitate remote work and encourage a hybrid model if they do plan on a return to the office at all.
Skills Beyond the Technical
Technical and digital literacy in the future of work is simply a given at this point. However, the real truth of skills in the future is that more than just a technological skillset will be necessary. Human skills, or so-called soft skills, will be more than preferred for employees in the future—they will be essential.
Soft skills such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking are necessary to offset the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning across numerous industries, and it is these very skills that are often cited as a crucial gap for those with technical expertise. As AI becomes more powerful, we will need human workers to offer critical thinking and communication skills to ensure we are using these AI and machine learning tools to their best ability.
Prepare for the Future
The time for businesses to prepare for future trends is now. As we move into a changing workplace culture, where remote work and a balance between soft skills and technical skills are the norm, it is time to shift priorities. Companies need to focus on retaining talent, changing the employee experience, and building new skills in their teams if they want to succeed tomorrow.