Four Trends Which Are Changing the World of Work

We recently conducted research to understand the most important global and ‘world of work’ trends affecting organisations today. As part of this, we have looked into the ingredients that make ‘the 21st century leader’, the kind able to deal with the unexpected and embrace the rapid pace of change that has now become commonplace.

The findings paint an interesting picture. There is a general consensus across the globe that the way we operate as businesses is experiencing a period of rapid change. In particular, many organisations have been forced to re-evaluate their talent recruitment and retention strategies in order to meet the changing wants and needs of their workforce, while also maintaining a strong brand reputation across industries.

Below, we’ve pulled together the four key trends that are most strongly contributing to the revolution of the world of work, according to our research:

1. Relationships between employers and employees are changing

A third of the individuals we surveyed felt that one of the key world of work trends is a distinct shift in relationships between employers and employees. From our work as global career experts, we know that most employees want a mutual alliance with their employer, whereby both parties work together in order to maintain a positive working environment. 
Essentially, we found that a large majority of leaders feel individuals are looking for job flexibility in order to achieve a better balance between their personal and professional lives. This means working closely to establish working practices that suit everyone’s needs. 

2. Technological innovations are transforming the workplace

Technological innovations are revolutionising the workplace at a rate that seems to be increasing every year. In particular, the spread of technology into every area of a business has increased the pace of change, meaning organisations are needing to think smarter about how they adapt in order to meet both customer and employee demand.
At the same time, these innovations are leading to a decrease in the longevity of in-demand skills. The onus is firmly on HR and leadership teams to think smartly about how they develop employee skillsets to ensure they remain relevant in an age where the term ‘man vs. machine’ is more prevalent than ever. 

3. Employees are changing careers more frequently

We are now operating in the Human Age, where employees are opting for a ‘career for me’ rather than a ‘job for life’. The new generation of workers are not afraid to vote with their feet if they are unhappy, or unfulfilled. In fact, it is widely cited that nowadays employees will have seven different careers in their lifetimes, unrestricted by traditional linear career paths.

For organisations that don’t plan effectively, this can mean an increased pressure to constantly be scouring the market for the right talent, urgently. In fact, nearly a quarter of leaders we surveyed reported that they are currently finding it difficult to fill jobs and are also faced with a lack of succession planning, ensuring future leaders are prepared for critical roles. Taking a more strategic approach to workforce planning – by allowing more internal moves by talented but uninspired staff, can help to mitigate this issue.

4. There is an overall change in attitudes when it comes to careers
The modern workplace is now more likely than not to host five generations working side by side, all who have different expectations of their employer and their career. The arrival of the younger, tech savvy workforce to the jobs market presents new opportunities for employers to become career-enablers, by letting go of hierarchical people management practices and prioritising career development of individual employees in order to succeed. Older workers with legacy skills need to be paired with younger workers to ensure that invaluable skills are passed, as the baby-boom generation exits the workforce.

A 21st Century leader, and organisation, is one that can adapt and inspire in a continuously changing workplace. The organisations that adapt to these trends and create a culture that prioritises career development will win in the Human Age.