Changing work dynamics, emerging global trade and industry demands have drastically evolved the way workforce is managed across sectors. Organizations of size across industries have employees of different age groups and cultural background who are working together. Therefore, managing a group of Gen X might be completely different from managing a millennial or a Gen Z. As employees come with different skill sets, experience and expectations, it becomes difficult for the management to engage with all employees and assess their work with a common strategy or technique.
Additionally, there is a mix of workforce ranging from permanent employees to contractual staff and consultants who work in various capacities in many organizations. Therefore, managing and overseeing such a diverse workforce has increasingly become difficult without the intervention of technology.
These factors make it imperative for organizations to invest in processes, that help them better manage their workforce by improving productivity, minimizing the compliance risks and controlling labour costs. In the year to come, one can anticipate some exciting trends in the area of workforce management (WFM). However, what will make any WFM solution appealing is its ease of use that will help businesses and employees equally and effectively. Some of the notable trends in the coming year include:
AI and Automation- The Next Big Thing
AI and automation have helped human resource platforms become increasingly efficient by simplifying and speeding up administrative tasks, thus, allowing businesses to recognize the value of keeping employee efforts on more productive tasks. Continuous innovations in workforce management have simplified the delivery of data and insights to help solve real business problems that directly impact an employee’s daily work routine.
The repetitive time consuming tasks can be brought up to speed with the help of AI. It also assists in keeping a check on potential compliance risks and employee management concerns. With the adoption of AI and automation critical workforce processes such as timekeeping, labour scheduling and leave management have become far easier. In near future, AI will play a crucial part in helping companies retain employees and assisting individuals grow and meet their career aspirations better. However, managers and employees need to be properly trained to strategically utilize these technological advancements to their best use.
Employee Engagement as a Financial Investment
Organizations today are investing heavily in employee engagement. However, the question of ROI on culture driven investment is often raised amongst the leadership. HR needs to take initiatives to better connect employee engagement with business objectives while using operational data to show how engagement is financially driven (e.g. better productivity, fewer customer escalations, optimal scheduling, retention of top performers).
This will subsequently aid in attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry. Creative thinking about the entire employee experience lifecycle, matching expectations during the recruiting phase and all the way through succession planning is another aspect that will drive employee engagement. Remuneration, flexibility, learning and development, work environments, meaningful connection to the business, people, and the community are certain aspects that HR are taking into consideration for engaging employees better.
One of the key drivers of employee experience is an interaction with others (both management and other employees) and organizations need to focus on programs that will help managers forge relationships with, and develop, their employees. With innovations in workforce management and HR technology daily tasks have increasingly become automated, giving managers more time to interact with employees than before.
While earlier management found themselves out of touch and have passed the opportunity of human interaction with their employees, now managers can get enough time to engage with the team in a more meaningful manner.
Better Hiring Practices
The skills gap has been a major concern for businesses in need of a well-trained workforce. Thus, hiring the right employee for the job and up-skilling him/her to a better fit is something most organizations are keen to adopt. Sometimes employees fit the position, but don’t have all the necessary skills and hence training for the job seems to be the right option. Organizations will look at broadening their hiring criteria for smart people who can learn fast even if the skill set required isn’t a match. Companies adopting such hiring practices will definitely be ahead of their competitors.
Easing the Retirement Process
Engaging employees of retirement-age, who have a wealth of experience, and assigning meaningful roles to them as they plan to move-on with their careers, which will help maintain or even enhance their productivity, is also becoming a key concern of workforce management, which needs to be addressed. Thousands of baby-boomers with inherent knowledge and work experience are set to retire across organizations.
However, most organizations aren’t prepared for the loss of this workforce. Even these baby-boomers plan to ease into retirement by working part-time hours or taking on an entirely new, lower-paying job with more meaning. Even then, there are retirement-aged employees who aren’t financially capable of leaving their jobs. This will motivate organizations to map their succession plans in line with the retirement of their best talent.