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The new decade has just begun, heralding new beginnings, concepts and ideas in various spheres of life. While the last decade has seen a paradigm shift from employee engagement to employee experience, the coming decade is well-poised to scale and accelerate some highly differentiating trends and transform the modern workplace.

An experiential workplace that enables seamless unfolding of employees’ potential, enhance their performance and set the stage for a flexible and immersive culture — the next decade promises to bring in an exciting future for the modern workplace. The competitive advantage thus would belong to organisations that ensure employees can invent, inspire, lead, innovate, learn and create a better tomorrow. In this scenario, where the new-age employees, i.e. Millennials and Gen Z, are the future torch-bearers demanding tailor-made solutions, 2020 will be a riveting year, as it will be the cusp between the workplace of today and that of the next decade.

Trends that emerge this year will pave the way forward in creating a working space that is thoughtful towards employee needs and harnesses their potential to the fullest. And adapting to this kind of change is critical to the future of work. For businesses looking to win the battle for top talent, exploiting these movements may be what sets them apart in the years to come. Here are some emerging trends that will drive changes in the workplace.

Role of technology

The advancements in technology have brought about a significant change in the process of recruitment through the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Recruiters across the globe track available information from various online sources such as blogs and social media before recommending potential candidates (and at times even for elimination final shortlists basis desired personality traits check). VR and AR create an immersive virtual landscape where applicants experience real-world scenarios through simulation, experience workplace setting and take virtual tours. Organisations across the globe will adopt these technologies to improve not just the candidate experience, but also their candidate selection – as real-time case studies and solutions are a much better tool to assess skills than the standard interviews and case studies. Virtual capability assessment through live interviews will use specific tools for individuals to know whether they are suitable for the role or not and help the candidate in gaining a simulated assessment of the organization culture. AR and VR would also, in the future, serve extensively as an aid for corporates for internship projects, huddle with consultants / domain experts across the world, form cross regional / cross border work groups and many more.

AI is revolutionising the way we do business

Using an algorithm that connects quality data with fast computation services, AI technologies offer significant opportunities to improve processes such as self-service transactions, talent acquisition, payroll, services and procedures. For instance, new employees who may want to connect with other staff members and get more institutional information may not know where to go. Chatbots can help answer questions, resolve doubts and ensure a seamless transition. Chatbots also act as a smart and efficient assistant for employees who wish to share feedback on their experience with an organisation. At Sodexo BRS India we already are leveraging AI-based employee engagement Chatbots which help in gauging the pulse of the organization and enable the leadership to take strategic, data-based decisions. The next year will see the widespread operationalisation of AI and chatbots.

Performance appraisal system

The bell-curve performance appraisal system has been dying a slow death over the last few years. 2020s will aim to advance skill-based management of employees’ performance management and knowledge enhancement to identify and utilise the knowledge of employees’ skills to allocate the appropriate people at the right place, at the right time and for the right duration. The skill-based system also quantifies the level of skills possessed by the employees, the frequency of its usage and easy access to this knowledge. The focus of performance management would see a shift to people management where managers would be expected to act as Coach (and not supervisors driving results as per expectation) so as to unlock performance potential.

IoT to be a commonplace workplace tool 

Internet of Things (IoT) has been the buzzword of 2019. In 2020, it will become a commonplace workplace tool to offer immediate improvements to the employee experience. IoTs are serving as a helpful guide for companies looking to leverage and manage the evolving workplace. For example, employees now make no compromises with workplace food. Whether in the office or working remotely, employees want flexible offerings that fit seamlessly to their choices. The concept of virtual or digitised cafeterias wherein employees can order food from anywhere without the need for physical presence has already taken root. Predictive algorithms that will prompt a selection of choices based on the employee’s past food habits, preferences and health condition will become standard, thereby giving employees greater freedom of choice

Innovative workplace designs

Progressive workplace designs help in building an environment which fosters collaboration, innovation, flexibility and creativity and the trends in 2020 are likely to move towards a more progressive workplace design suiting the needs of the next-gen employee. Sodexo’s Global Study on Reimagining Employee Experience identified key design and experience solutions that can help redefine the corporate workplace. Close to 77 percent of employees would probably or definitely use innovative office spaces like multi-purpose spaces, Quiet Rooms, Curiosity Rooms, Private Spaces and even Fun Rooms. This brings the modern dynamic into workspaces to create unique and inspiring spaces that accelerate organisational transformation.

Employee well-being initiatives

A growing number of organisations focus on employee well-being initiatives - physical, emotional and mental. A research by Global Wellness Institute states that well-being is a $4.2 trillion industry. As the average longevity increases and pace of life gets faster, keeping healthy is imperative. On the contrary, statistics predict that the number of people who will suffer from a chronic lifestyle disease is on the rise. Hence, the need for holistic wellness plans to create healthy organisations. Organisations will continue their wellness focus in 2020.

Employees as brand advocates 

An engaged workforce is the best advertisement for any organisation. Productive, loyal and focused on achieving organisational goals, they are the most effective brand advocates that any company can wish for. No wonder then that corporates today rely on proactive employee retention. In doing so, they compile data-based insights and predict the future potentials, attribute skills and performance of the employees and make decisions on the basis of gathered data analysis to ensure a well-planned personalized retention strategy.

Enhancing the employee experience and an ever-evolving workplace shall continue to be a focus area in the coming decade and initiatives on health, wellness, an array of new-age benefits and rewards, coupled with state-of-the-art technology, enhanced digitised personalised employee benefit solutions and holistic offerings, would be the notable emerging trends at the workplace. The beginning of the end of this decade promises to augur well for employees and organisations alike.

Suvarna Mishra is VP Human Resources at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services.

Published Date: Jan 15, 2020 06:01 AM | Updated Date: Jan 15, 2020 01:01 PM IST

Tags : #future of work #Future WorkPlace #Views #workplace trends

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