If there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2020, it’s that no predictions are set in stone. No one realized when this year dawned just what would be in store for us. However, it is important to try to anticipate what is to come. While viruses and contagions might defy predictability to some extent, we have a lot more control over workplace trends.
Understanding the trends today that will carry into 2021 and what new workplace trends will grow out of them is important for decision-makers in all industries. It’s part of being prepared for whatever may come and being able to adapt to changing situations. So, what can we expect in the new year? In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most prominent trends that will affect the workplace.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
One of the hallmarks of 2021 will be an even stronger focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity. This should be embodied in training content within your LMS. However, it should also be something that is baked into your company culture. After all, if you don’t actually value those things, then no amount of training is going to make much difference. Culture trumps training every time.
Greater Focus on Workplace Culture
On the heels of that last trend, we will be seeing more and more companies taking a long, hard look at their culture. It has become more important than ever before that businesses identify negative elements in their culture and eradicate them. By creating a culture that values learning and development, that makes it acceptable for employees to fail without negative consequences, and that values inputs from everyone, regardless of position within the organization, it becomes possible to improve engagement, reduce employee churn, retain key talent, and achieve other important goals.
More Working From Home
Let’s be honest – we all thought that the work from home thing would end when COVID was handled. While the pandemic hasn’t quite been brought to heel yet, we can already see that remote working is probably going to be the new normal for most employees moving forward, even once we’ve managed to deal with the fallout of the virus. There are simply too many benefits for decision-makers to ignore, ranging from improved productivity to reduced costs in terms of physical footprint.
Hiring with a Focus on Work from Home Experience
While remote work is going to be with us for a long time to come, the pandemic has shown us that it takes unique skills to be truly successful with this. Employers will increasingly seek out team members with proven experience working from home while maximizing productivity, communication, and engagement. Skilled, experienced remote workers may be first in line for management or leadership positions, too.
A Greater Focus on Employee Health and Well-Being
A business is only as successful as its employees. If your teams are rundown, stressed, burned out, or overwhelmed, they cannot do their best work. This leads directly to reduced success for the business. Because of that direct correlation, more and more organizations are focusing on employee health and well-being. You can do this in many ways, including:
- Encouraging employees to take time to care for themselves
- Paying for gym/fitness club memberships for employees
- Investing in fitness trackers for employees
- Providing educational materials to help them understand and improve their health
- Working with employees to achieve a better work/life balance
The point is to take concerted action. Develop a plan designed to help employees improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. Understand that an investment in their success is an investment in the company’s success.
Caution in Hiring
The downturn resulting from the pandemic has made many employers cautious about hiring, and for good reason. However, that does not mean that you have to suffer from a lack of talent flow. As a manager, you are in a prime position to help address situations where talent might be lacking by working with existing employees. Help them identify career paths and then connect them with the education and training necessary to reach new heights. As you promote from within, it opens up lower positions in the organization that can be filled through strategic, cautious hiring.
Realization That Humans Are the Core of the Business
For many decision-makers, the realization that human beings are the core of the business comes as something of a surprise. This is natural given the once-common idea that employees were replaceable. Today, that notion is slowly evaporating as companies realize that failing to provide employees with a positive experience affects their reputation and culture.
Eventually, a company that fails to realize their employees are the core of their success will struggle to fill empty positions and attract real talent. Instead, decision-makers and managers must focus on creating a positive, thriving work environment, connecting with employees through regular check-ins and standups, and generally helping to support those who support the business.
Changes in How Technology Is Handed Out
With the pandemic, most corporations found that their employees did not have “even” access to the required technologies in their home offices. Look for companies to begin changing how they invest in and hand out corporate technology, from laptops to tablet computers and everything in between. The guiding strategy here will be how to create an even playing field for all employees, maximize productivity and communication through technology, and press forward to achieve mission-critical business goals.
How Is Your New Year Shaping Up?
As you can see, there are quite a few trends currently developing or on the horizon. There’s still some ambiguity, as well, largely due to COVID-19’s continued presence on the world stage. What about your own companies? What trends are you seeing and how are your performance management strategies changing to cope with those alterations?