The work environment is never constant, as there are always new trends and challenges that need new solutions. In 2022, experts noted that businesses faced significant changes, such as a higher employee turnover rate, high burnout rates, increased inflation, and evolving return-to-office policies. Unfortunately, businesses will likely face even more evolved and new challenges this year. Therefore, as a business owner, it is advisable to know the latest trends to identify possible challenges and solutions to existing problems and gain insight into the best measures to implement in your workplace to ensure your business’s success. On that note, below are nine key trends shaping the future of work.
- “Quiet hiring” in-demand skills
The term “quiet quitting” has been used frequently, especially recently, to describe the phenomenon of employees refusing to go above and beyond for their workplace. There are several reasons employees may be “quiet quitting,” such as pay discrepancies, lack of motivation, insufficient support from managers, and lack of boundaries. The concept of “quiet quitting” creates a concept where businesses may still have employees but lack the skills and capabilities needed.
This can be said to create a new trend at workplaces of “quiet hiring” in-demand skills. But what does this mean? Just like “quiet quitting,” “quiet hiring” does not necessarily mean employers are hiring new staff. Instead, it refers to organizations leveraging on employees’ skills and capabilities to improve the business’s operations without the need to hire new staff. This can be done by changing the roles or departments of employees to fit where their skills are needed most, giving them access to better compensation and more benefits. You can also manifest “quiet hiring” by providing existing employees with specific upskilling opportunities to ensure they are well-equipped for a task. Through “quiet hiring,” your business saves on the cost of hiring new staff. You also ensure improved employee engagement and retention, lowering the chances of “quiet quitting.”
- In-depth focus on values and mission
The values and mission of the workplace are important to its success as it communicates the purpose of the organization, measures its goals and objectives, and encourages employees. Due to this, it may seem strange to note that businesses are now focusing more on their values and mission. However, over the years, the trend has been to touch base, occasionally, with the mission and vision of the business. Today, employers have noticed that employees are more productive in a space that prioritizes its values, such as corporate responsibility and other social impacts. This has led businesses to review their existing missions and values to ensure they clearly express their purpose, aims, and goals and that they can adequately attract the employees and talent they are looking for. In revising your business values and mission, implement various policies, such as your stance on your customers, how you treat employees and what you expect from them, your business policy, and so on.
- Increased flexibility
Although remote working was not an entirely new concept before the COVID-19 pandemic, it sure became the “new normal” right after. This strategy allowed businesses, especially their employees, to operate flexibly. This gave way to both good and bad results. Even now, the need for flexibility at work has not been removed in the post-COVID business environment. Several workplaces have introduced a hybrid system to allow a balance of in-office and remote working. This, in turn, allows employees to rest and decreases the stress of being at the workplace all week. Employers are also exploring other means of flexibility, such as increased sabbatical programs to allow employees to travel globally while having the right technological solutions to get work done. On the other hand, other employees also opt to reduce the working hours of the week to ensure employees can have a fair work-life balance.
Moreover, the advantages of flexibility would extend to frontline workers, like those in healthcare. This results from a large percentage of frontline workers leaving organizations in search of companies that would provide them with a stable work schedule, control over their schedule, and offer paid leave.
- Increased use of technological solutions
The importance of technology cannot be overemphasized, so it is no surprise that this will only improve in 2023. Modern technological solutions available to businesses seem more intelligent, personalized, and pervasive. For instance, research from Deloitte has shown that 82% of businesses have incorporated AI into their operations to enhance performance. Implementing automation, AI technologies, and machine learning ensures that workplace operations are carried out efficiently and productively. Issues of downtime are eradicated, and the burden on employees is reduced drastically, preventing stress and burnout. These technological solutions would also ensure that employees are well organized, maintain business security and enhance customer services, experiences, and satisfaction.
Technological solutions would also aid in improving collaborations and communications among team members, regardless of time or location. For instance, construction companies can use field service management software to track insights on vital data metrics, access customer satisfaction tools, and automate various tasks— whether on the field or in the office. However, experts have advised that careful evaluation and analysis be conducted before technological solutions are implemented within a business. The last thing business owners want is to invest in technology that is dormant or does not serve the business adequately. Therefore, in addition to making monetary provisions, you should ensure your staff is knowledgeable about the solution you’re about to implement to ensure it is used effectively.
- Focus on healthcare and wellbeing
Just as customer experience is important to your business and its success, so is employee experience. Employee experience can be described as the manner in which your employees relate or interpret their interactions with their business environment. Therefore, just like your customers, ensuring your employees have a positive experience is vital to boosting morale and preventing the risk of turnover and losing talent. Fortunately, this concept of employee experience is one that most businesses are focusing on today. A major element in this regard is the focus on employee health and wellbeing. This is because enhancing employee health and wellbeing creates a positive work environment, as your employees feel valued within the business. This, in turn, increases employee satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement. Additionally, employees who know that their employers care for their physical and mental health are motivated to increase productivity and efficiency and perform better.
Fortunately, there are several areas and ways to incorporate being proactive about improving your employee’s healthcare and wellbeing. For instance, you can provide employees with enhanced training programs, mentorship, and employee development opportunities to help them progress in their careers. It would be best to keep your employees in the loop regarding promotion opportunities. Incorporating physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing strategies should also be considered. These include providing beneficial health insurance packages, encouraging breaks, creating stress-free work environments, limiting or avoiding overworking, and practicing empathy.
- Bolster DEI efforts
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a hot topic at workplaces, and your business would be no exception. From race to religious beliefs, there are so many factors employers need to focus on to ensure their employees feel represented and heard. In theory, DEI policies should be designed to ensure employees feel welcomed and appreciated at their workplace, regardless of their backgrounds. Additionally, and more importantly, they should have adequate support to ensure they can work at their maximum capacity. However, this is easier said than done. Statistics show that over 42% of employees believe that the DEI efforts of their workplace are divisive. Several others have also admitted to feeling alienated by their company’s DEI efforts or resenting them completely. This can be problematic for businesses.
On the one hand, resistance to existing DEI policies can create conflict between Management and employees, creating hostility and airs of discrimination and bias. Moreover, the number of politically correct issues has increased over the last months, making it difficult for companies to revise policies on time. In an effort to avoid this, 2023 will witness several businesses make efforts to improve their DEI efforts. For example, several businesses are ready to conduct various training programs to educate employees on the policies to ensure they understand and value these policies. Additionally, employers are contemplating creating safe spaces for various employee demographics to make them feel more inclusive and recognized in the workplace. Another way to bolster your DEI efforts is by encouraging transparent conversation. Be sure to create a safe space for your employees to feel heard and know their suggestions are warmly welcomed to ensure that the right policies are being implemented.
As mentioned earlier, businesses are constantly evolving. It is important to keep up with these changes to ensure you’re not being left behind. The best way to do this is by knowing the ongoing trends. Although the trends mentioned above can be considerately helpful in your efforts to ensure that your business thrives, it is important to remember this list is not exhaustive. Therefore be sure to explore more trends that may occur throughout the year.