Are you looking to hire new staff or look for a new job in 2020? Here are the most important trends impacting the workplace in the year ahead.
Rapid advancements in technology over the past decade, alongside a growing desire for work-life balance and awareness of positive mental health, have powered the increased popularity of flexible working. Organisations across sectors and geographies are offering their workers opportunities to start and finish work earlier or later, work from home, take longer breaks and work remotely from different locations. Staff can benefit from quieter working environments, chances to travel and more time to spend with their families, exercising, running errands and developing skills.
62% of businesses worldwide now offer a flexible working policy, and this is set to grow from 2020 and beyond. Businesses are increasingly understanding the impact of personal autonomy on employee happiness, with flexible working policies found to improve productivity, retention and worker wellbeing.
Although 25% of UK companies currently employ staff from the EU, net migration from the EU to the UK fell by 95% in 2017. Coupled with urgent and rapidly increasing skills shortages, employers will continue to struggle finding qualified workers without adapting following Brexit.
Reaching out to diverse groups will help to attract new and untapped talent pools to fill vacancies in the short and long-term. Whilst women make up over 50% of the UK population, just 9% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female – the lowest in Europe – and only 6% of UK engineers are from BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds. Candidates with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds are cut off from employment opportunities by arbitrary Academic or health requirements. Reviewing CV screening and interviewing processes can make them more accessible to minority groups and generate successful applications from diverse employees.
Providing legally compliant procedures, businesses can continue to access talent around the world by implementing agile recruitment and retention strategies. Tailored job adverts and inclusive workplace cultures can welcome EU citizens into UK roles, and effectively communicating work rights and legal protections will help reassure European employees working in the UK of their employer’s commitment to valuing and supporting them.
With 2020 seeing Generation Z enter the workforce for the first time, offices, shops and factories are now multigenerational, alongside older Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each generation’s preferred working style has been moulded by the society they grew up within: Baby Boomers are almost polar opposites to Generation Z, valuing stability and therefore having initiated few job changes, contrasting with the fact that younger generations will have an average of 16 different jobs throughout their lifetime.
The largest section of the workforce, Generation X are good at collaborating to solve problems; this is also true of Generation Z. Having grown up through a period of rapid globalisation, Gen Z are highly engaged with the needs and experiences of others across demographics and backgrounds, and are socially inclined thanks to the unprecedented expansion of communication channels. When job-seeking, Generation Z are more likely to place high importance on the values of a prospective employer, and thrive in diverse environments that welcome different opinions and experiences.
With the oldest Generation Z individuals being only in their mid-twenties, Generation Z will be the fastest-growing demographic in global workplaces.
Whilst a good salary and benefits have continually come top of the list of most attractive qualities in a potential workplace, other values have changed dramatically in the past decade:
Empowering connection from anywhere in the world, modern technology will become even more important in the workspace in 2020.
Remote and flexible workers will make use of teamwork management processes and apps like Slack and WhatsApp and incorporate them into their daily operations. Internal messaging systems will facilitate greater communication and efficiency, allowing employees to be more productive than ever before. Younger generations already used to video chat and mobile app communication will drive the alignment of ways of working with the technological activities and interactions of employees in their personal lives.
With opportunities for growth and transparency, tech also heightens the risk of overwhelming employees with choice. Internal communications strategies and specialists will be in demand to manage communication and prevent confusion and overload. Moving so quickly from email and phone to hundreds of possible comms options, from Skype and Zoom to Basecamp and Monday.com, collaboration and project management tools are only as effective as the strategy in place to use them. Internal comms managers will prove invaluable to help larger organisations harness technology whilst reducing employee stress and disengagement.
Training will become of pivotal importance to ensure staff can make full use of technology. Time management, productivity and teamwork training will help companies develop the soft skills of their staff alongside their technical abilities.
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