What will change in the workplace in 2020? Find out here

February 03, 2020 1:17 AM

The trends are hyper-social, hyper-productive and intimately-personalised.

work, workplaceTalent in many specialised areas is in short supply and most organisations don’t have enough work to keep this talent permanently engaged.

By Aditya Kohli

It has been an unusually quiet start to the new year, with most organisations showing caution against the backdrop of a weak economy and liquidity pressures. While that may be the case, emphasis on creating radical productivity shifts at the workplace will continue in 2020. So, what will change at our workplace?

I call these the 3-2-1 of 2020—three workplace trends, two new employee categories, and one strategic imperative:

The trends are hyper-social, hyper-productive and intimately-personalised.

Hyper-social: Facebook has 336 million, YouTube 265 million and WhatsApp 400 million users in India. While these are astounding numbers, the usage is largely limited to individuals; most companies are yet to create a meaningful footprint here. Organisations that can leverage this network for customers, influencers and employees will realise immense value.

Hyper-productive: For traditional companies, 2020 will be the year of driving hyper-productivity, with many technology tools becoming mainstream and relatively cheap. The shift from ‘people interfacing with machines to get work done’ to ‘machines driving machines’ will unleash significant employee productivity.

Personalisation: With 75% of workforce as millennials, Gen-Z, our approach towards employee engagement, L&D and compensation management is going to need a overhaul with a strong bias towards ‘employee experience’. Gone are the days of broad brush policies and cohort-based development programmes.

Two new employee categories will be gig workforce and virtual employees.

Gig workforce: Talent in many specialised areas is in short supply and most organisations don’t have enough work to keep this talent permanently engaged. I see corporations becoming more open to engaging with the gig workforce. Policies will need to be realigned and compensation rejigged to make this happen.

Virtual employees: This year ‘digital’ will not be an exception but a core part of all organisations’ business strategy. Virtual employees with personalities of their own will become commonplace. These bots will have a defined life cycle—a fixed set of KPIs at the beginning of their term, sufficient investment to ensure they operate at full efficiency, planned updates to keep them relevant, and a phase-out plan.

One big strategic imperative for this year is ‘Skill, Reskill, Repeat’.

Amidst a multi-generational, highly-dispersed and cross-cultural workforce, skills are becoming a strategic imperative for organisations. The half-life of professional skills is shrinking drastically. Organisations will have to get more aggressive in building and updating the technical skills of their employees. Also, organisations will need to emphasise the culture of learn-unlearn-relearn amongst their employees.

The author is chief human resources officer at Clix Capital

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