What You Need to Know
In 2020 workplace trends are more human than ever. Automation and AI continue to transform how we work, and employees of all generations, from Boomers to Zoomers, are embracing these changes. But as we introduce new tools to make work easier and more efficient, it’s the human touch that employees’ value most – and it’s your human workers that continue to be the most important asset for your business.
Preparing for the future of work is less about having the coolest tools than it is about identifying game changing technologies that confer advantages in your specific workplace culture; building on your strengths with new tools that simplify workflows and outsourcing non-core functions to a trusted vendor. That’s why the workplace trends we’re keeping our eyes on are all fundamentally about people.
5. Targeted Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the practice of moving a service or function to an outside vendor or contractor. While an accounting company might be very good at preparing taxes and financial planning, it might not have the caliber of security professionals it needs to keep its sensitive information secure. Business leaders must choose between developing a team in house or engaging an outside firm. Outsourcing offers the kind of flexibility that no in-house team can, and expertise that you don’t have to train for.
HR outsourcing is popular with small businesses, startups, and enterprise level organizations expanding into new markets. Good HR policies and practices can make or break organizations of any size, and HR is an increasingly complex field – especially for businesses operating in more than more region. Human Resources is responsible for hiring and onboarding new workers, severing workers, measuring performance, discipline, compensation and benefits, training and workforce planning.
It’s a huge array of responsibilities, all of which are governed by employment law, which differs from state to state, country to country. The cost of getting things wrong is high. Getting HR wrong costs businesses anywhere from thousands to millions annually. This makes outsourcing all or part of the HR function an attractive option for business of all sizes.
Turnover costs businesses tens of thousands of dollars (to millions in larger organizations) every year. When an employee leaves, for whatever reason, they leave a gap in the organization. This is just one aspect of the cost of turnover. “The average economic cost to a company of turning over a highly skilled job is 213% of the cost of one year’s compensation for that role.” Sourcing, screening and hiring new candidates can be expensive – especially if you make the wrong hiring decisions. Bad hiring decisions can cost up to 30% of the employee’s first year salary. Onboarding and training new hires are another cost, and it’s something that can’t be rushed if you want them to integrate effectively with your team. In an increasingly candidate driven market, turnover is costlier than ever.
One of the best ways to overcome turnover is to develop an upskilling program. Upskilling is an internal training program designed to teach current employees’ new skills, usually without taking time out for school. A good upskilling program should benefit both employees and the business, matching employee interest with business need. The program might include personal development plans, classroom time, webinars or on the job training.
Developing an upskilling program and sticking to it isn’t easy. Like so many HR functions, without good leadership it’s easy to drift away from your objectives; buy in from leadership is crucial. Organizations without the necessary skill can engage outside experts to develop or even manage an upskilling plan.
3. Social Purpose and Sustainability
The conventional wisdom about generations at work is that where Millennials wanted to feel a sense of purpose at work, Generation Z wants to work for organizations whose values align with their own. And while these desires may be heightened among these specific generations, an engaged workforce always wants to feel like they belong in and are contributing to an organization that is doing something they can feel proud of. In other words, if you want to build a team that’s consistently doing their best, you should also be your best.
That’s why social purpose and sustainability initiatives made our list of 2020 workplace trends: they help build a sense of community, civic responsibility and pride in your team. Whether your organization is fully in office or remote, candidates want to know about what your company will do for them, and for the world. Social purpose initiatives should reflect the character of your organization. Choose causes that your organization has a connection with, or that your industry impacts.
Causes and organizations that you can work with long term will offer more employer brand and employee engagement ROI, even if they’re less flashy than one-off disaster relief efforts. Publicize contribution opportunities internally, as well as results. Real relationships that produce measurable impact will drive positive change within your organization.
2. Healthy Workplace
Health benefits, work life balance and company culture continue to be a top concern of candidates. We spend far more of time at work than we do at home, after all. The health and culture of our workplace has a tremendous impact on our lives: healthy workplaces attract better candidates and they foster more productive and satisfied workers.
A healthy workplace requires two things: a committed leadership team, and healthcare and time off policies that meet the team’s needs. No matter how good your health benefits are, if your team members don’t feel empowered to take time off when sick, you won’t have physically healthy workplace. Likewise, if your management style doesn’t foster respect among all team members, and empower them to take time off for themselves, you won’t have a mentally healthy workplace.
Steer clear of gimmicky health and wellness rewards – instead focus on year-round, substantive perks and forward-thinking policies. Just as savvy candidates can tell the difference between real commitment to a cause and a quick-fix donation, they won’t be satisfied by the occasional free lunch in lieu of basic benefits and good policies. What’s your time off policy? Do you have a performance evaluation system in place? What about a diversity statement? How will you deal with a toxic team member or manager? Candidates and employees alike will know if you haven’t done your homework.
Thinking through these basic human resources issues and then proactively committing to policies, is the first step in developing a healthy workplace. Once you know what you can offer and why you want to do so, you can get to work at putting your new policies in place.
1. Wellness Beyond Work
After salary and vacation time, health benefits continues to the top the list 2020 workplace trends. While many countries have a universal healthcare system there are always gaps. Some countries offer basic health but not pharma. Others offer health and pharma but fall down on preventative care. Healthcare is expensive and difficult to budget for. You might put enough to deal with the regular childhood illnesses of your growing family, but do you have a crisis fund?
Because health and wellness are inevitably a major concern of candidates and tenured employees alike, employers that offer great benefits can make an impact and differentiate their organization from its competitors. Creating a great benefits package, though, isn’t as simple as offering a lot of things, it’s about demographics and company culture.
Benefits usage differs widely but predictably along demographic lines: young, single people are more interested in paramedicals like massage, acupuncture and chiropractic services; parents are more interested in extended healthcare, pharma and vision care. When it comes to designing a good benefits package, it’s worth getting granular, understanding your organization’s demographic trends and surveying employees about what they value most. Sometimes your team will surprise you – they might value a gym membership more than a big pharmacare package; or they might have health needs outside the scope of your own experience.
Instead of benefits being a cost center, a well-designed package increases team productivity and satisfaction. An HR consultant can help you build an employee perk package that makes sense for your company culture, meets your budget requirements, and attracts and retains top talent.
Turning Workplace Trends into Practice
Leaders are inundated with recommendations about how to improve their businesses. That’s why we’ve curated this list of workplace trends with action in mind: instead of vague promises or gimmicks, what we want you to take away from this article is the importance of being thoughtful and engaged with your team and its specific needs. Understanding who they are and how you can play to their strengths is the first step to building a better team – and you can do this through, simple, concrete steps. Survey your employees, engage an HR consultant, and starting making positive changes with proven results, in your workplace today.