The work environment continues to evolve. What has never been thought possible before is slowly taking shape, and what was considered the norm is now but a distant memory. All of this is happening because of numerous trends that are redefining human resource management, and this, without a doubt, is changing the way HR managers think. Here are 6 trends that are impacting the workplace and how HR managers and practitioners can make the best out of them.
The mixed workforce model will become common practice
It’s not uncommon for large companies to have a workforce that is made up of regular employees, contractors and freelancers (Google, The Walt Disney Company and The Coca-Cola Company are a few examples). In the next few years, though, the mixed workforce model will become common practice, not just among large companies but also small and medium sized enterprises.
A mixed workforce allows companies to maximise the various advantages of having each type of employment: regular employers for longevity, contractors for flexibility and freelancers for affordability. But the most notable benefit of having this type of workforce is that it’s easier to assemble teams that are optimised for projects. HR managers can take advantage of mixed workforces by identifying what the organisation’s priorities are. For example, core competencies can be kept within the workload of regular employees, while non-core activities can be assigned to contractors and freelancers.
Business integration will be practised more widely
One trend that will standardise the adoption of technology is business integration, a strategy that aims to align technology with the goals and strategies of an organisation. It allows companies to make use of technology to ensure that operations are carried out and objectives are met as efficiently as possible.
For example, HR managers can implement the use of business process automation to allow menial and repetitive tasks to be assigned to computers, so that employees can focus on more important tasks. Business software and artificial intelligence can be integrated into existing processes to make the processes more efficient, improving worker productivity and management of business time.
The use of artificial intelligence will become dominant
Tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI), such as chatbots, will become dominant among organizations both small and large. This is highly likely to be the case, particularly in HR departments. With chatbots, HR interactions related to recruitment, training and performance management becomes more engaging and streamlined. Interactions between employees and HR are simplified; employees won’t even need to visit the HR office anymore.
What makes the transition to chatbots and AI attractive is the fact that they can be integrated into the various communication tools that are currently being used in many organisations such as instant messaging apps. In addition to this, less human workers will be needed, reducing costs.
Augmented reality will make employee training more intuitive
Another emerging trend that is shaping the future of the workplace is augmented reality (AR). With the right configurations, AR can supplement real-world environments with relevant data to provide an information-enriched environment that supports learning, making it ideal for employee training purposes.
The number of organisations employing virtual offices will rise
Gone are the days when the term workplace is restricted to the four corners of the office. Nowadays, coffee shops, parks and even cars during trips can also count as workplaces, as long as an Internet connection is accessible. But an emerging trend is further redefining what the word “office” means--the virtual workplace.
In virtual workplaces, most of the processes and interactions take place online. Employing a virtual workplace means not having the need for a physical location when conducting business. A service provider’s address, communication and receptionist services are used instead.
Employing a virtual workplace presents a lot of advantages for HR managers. First, it eliminates geographical restrictions for hiring talent, which widens their horizons. Second, this means zero infrastructure and maintenance costs for employers. Out-of-office work arrangements can even improve employee satisfaction, which can in turn improve productivity.
Another wave of the Gen Z demographic will join the fray
The Generation Z demographic, which includes individuals born from 1995 to the early 2000s, have ideals, goals and needs that differ from the Millennial, Generation X and baby boomer demographics. 2016 marked the first year that Gen Z entered the professional workforce, and while most organisations are focusing their efforts on catering to the Millennials, they will also need to consider the needs of the latter.
With that said, there are a lot of benefits of having a member of Gen Z in an organisation, and one of these is their technological adaptability. As a generation born in the cusp of the dawn of the Internet age, they are perceived to be more adaptive to the ever-changing digital landscape, which means they won’t have a hard time utilising new tools.
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