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5 Future of Work Trends that Nobody Should Ignore

Workplaces around the world are becoming more diverse, virtual and digital. The younger generation brings in a set of new values, cultures and expectations. Businesses will have to adapt in order to cater to shifting  employee behaviours and expectations.

Facing the push from a competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and the pressure to control costs, companies are trying to overcome this challenge through technological adoption, thus changing the nature of work and the workforce. 

Moreover, as employees aspire for greater flexibility and the employers seek more advanced ways to ensure productivity, the management will have to balance the two needs delicately. How the companies respond to this challenge could determine whether they are capable of attracting the best talent in the market.

This has given rise to the heated discussion on the Future of Work in the HR circles. The key trends shaping the Future of Work come in various styles and shapes, for instance:

1. Digitalisation and Automation

Digital technologies are now applied to create different business processes, products, and services, resulting in improved performance, competitiveness and agility. For Digital Transformation to succeed, organisations need to create a culture of innovation and creativity in the workplace.

The benefits of Digitalisation and Automation are aplenty. For businesses, it can mean increased profit, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction. For employees, it can lead to greater job satisfaction and higher incomes.

In line with Digital Transformation, the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, as well as other forms of automation will have a major impact on the future of work, reducing the need for manual labour and increasing the demand for skilled workers. The adoption of technology will also improve the communication between stakeholders.

When communication is effective and open, employees will more likely feel empowered and see the management as transparent and trustworthy. According to a survey by business consultancy McKinsey Global Institute, teams that communicate well are around 25% more productive. Thus companies in the hybrid work era are rushing to invest in improving communication and breaking down silos.

No matter which industry one is with, there are more often than not suitable business softwares that can digitalise its operation. For instance, IFCA Software has developed various software suites for different industries, including PropertyX for real estate developers, ContractX for contractors, HotelX for hoteliers and HRX for HR practitioners. These smart software suites create a digital collaborative platform for all stakeholders to communicate and share information seamlessly, thus elevating the work efficiency further. To ensure standardised communication among all employees, there is even a bulletin system in HRX.

2. Severe Talent Shortage

Many recruitment managers in Kuala Lumpur have recently complained about the tendency of frequent job hopping among the youth, who usually stayed for less than a year in many positions they held. When new staff members are recruited, the management has to train them all over again. This underscores the severity of the current talent shortage.

Compounded with the fact that those reaching retirement age are leaving, the severe shortage of labour is here to stay. This will in turn lead to higher workload for the remaining colleagues, who might experience burnout easier, leading to stagnant productivity.

It is now strategic for HR Departments to maintain employee satisfaction, lest they leave for greener pastures in this competitive labour market. To stem the high employee turnover, the management should tackle the myriad of issues that cause resentment among the employees, such as leave application or claim request.

Among the various HR Management softwares available in the market, the cloud-based end-to-end HR solution HRX stands out for its superb functionality. By listing down the leave entitlement of every employee based on company policies, its Leave Management module allows employees to submit leave applications via mobile devices. The applications will be cascaded to the respective supervisors instantly for review, thus cutting down the processing time tremendously.

The same goes to the Claim Management module of HRX, which utilises Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to extract details from the receipts snapped by employees. This simplified process saves both the applicant and the HR executives precious time, thus nipping the potential resentment in the bud. With tasks automated, HR personnel will have more time to focus on the talent management in line with the HR 5.0 paradigm. By automating these HR processes, it is hoped that companies will be able to elevate the level of employee satisfaction and thus their sense of belonging.

3. Remote work and productivity

The rise of remote working, facilitated by advances in communication and collaboration technology, will change the way we work and the way organisations operate. To track productivity, more employee monitoring analytics is the likely trend.

While there are obvious benefits for employers to deploy remote work analytics, such as allowing the management to reassign tasks more fairly, increase productivity and avoid burnout, it runs the risk of micromanagement, invading privacy, or even creating mistrust, ultimately triggering employee pushback.

Since remote working employees are scattered all over the place, verifying the exact duration each person has spent at work might be a challenge. With the Time Attendance module of HRX, which is capable of capturing the clock-in and clock-off times of an employee via QR code scanning, the management can ensure that the productivity remains high.

Besides, the clock-in and clock-out times captured are automatically fed to the Payroll system of HRX. Now no matter where they are based, their exact working hours can be established, and whether overtime payment is necessary can also be easily determined. This reduces the workload of HR executives by leaps and bounds.

4. Diversity and Inclusion

The future of work is expected to place a greater emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), with a wider range of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills being valued in the workforce.

When teams consist of people from a diverse gender, ethnic, regional, professional or soft skills backgrounds, their thinking tends to be more comprehensive, thus minimising the risk of groupthink and blind spots.

McKinsey’s reports over the years, including Diversity Wins, Why Diversity Matters, and Delivering Through Diversity repeatedly show that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.

Catalyst, a New York-based leadership think tank found that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over time, as presented in its research finding Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter.

Furthermore, Deloitte Australia stated that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments, as discovered in their research Waiter, Is That Inclusion In My Soup? A New Recipe To Improve Business Performance, jointly conducted with the State of Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Australia.

A comprehensive talent management strategy is needed to promote Diversity and Inclusion without triggering the pushback from existing employees. Recruitment, Training and Appraisal are now more efficient with HRX. Empowered by Big Data Analytics, the Talent Management module of HRX is capable of generating insights into the workforce, which helps the management in their strategic planning to form a dynamic and energetic workforce.

5. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

These three key factors measure the sustainability and ethical impact of company operations. If the pollution and climate change worsen, the ability of businesses to carry on their operation will be severely impacted. What businesses do about labour rights, workplace conditions, pay parity and resource equity speaks a lot about their core values. Whereas the Governance within a company encapsulates efforts to strengthen transparency, accountability, and compliance.

ESG elements are financially relevant to any business, yet historically not considered by financial analyses. The disclosure of ESG data has gained the limelight in recent years as greater transparency reduces risks and identifies opportunities, and failure to measure ESG exposures could lead to financial losses. When companies address ESG risks, businesses can improve their resilience and reduce the likelihood of costly adverse impacts.

Besides making it easier for businesses to comply with rules and regulations, implementing ESG measures will also help them reduce energy and resource consumption, as well as waste generation, thus resulting in greater savings and efficiency. By prioritising ESG efforts, companies will gain a better reputation among customers and investors, leading to an increased trust, loyalty and support, ultimately widening their access to capital.

Conclusion

The future of work is going to look drastically different. All of us must make the effort to adapt as we have to fight for survival and sustainability. The earlier businesses and workers adapt to the changes, the earlier we will be able to thrive. Reach out to us to find out how we can help your business adapt to the future of work.