5 Essential Expert Perspectives About the Future of Work in 2019

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Between maintaining an agile workforce and transitioning to greater automation, the future of work in 2019 looks challenging yet promising. We look at the five future of work trends that will help HR practitioners the world over.

ExpertsOpens a new window insist that we begin preparing for the future of work right here in 2019. The gig economy, improved employee engagement, increased flexibility, automation – are some critical features that define the future of work. But when exactly is the future of work? It appears that it has already arrived.

What Does the Future of Work Look Like in 2019?

There is a sense of urgency around immediately prioritizing the factors that define the future of work and rightly so. In 2019, these are the five trends to focus on for the future of work.

1. Employee Engagement and Experience Will Drive Workforce Retention

The focus on employee engagement was an important trend even in 2018Opens a new window , and the trend continues into 2019 and beyond. Organizations are moving beyond the traditional metric of employee engagement and focusing on the entire employee experience, i.e. the journey of an employee from recruitment to exit. Disengaged employeesOpens a new window are believed to be at-risk employees who can abandon ship at any time. A well-planned employee experience journey will determine the quality of employee engagement, and in turn, talent retention.

2. Continuous Learning Will Transform the Employer-Employee Relationship

While catering to a younger workforce, organizations must put learning and development at the forefront of their employee engagementOpens a new window strategy. Traditional education pathways are weakening, and the focus on unskilling and reskilling is increasing. Employees not only expect to perform the job they have been hired for; they expect it to be supplemented with continuous learning and additional skill development. In fact, millennials are more likely to be loyal to companies that offer training and development opportunitiesOpens a new window . Continuous learning offers a sense of purpose to employees and thus becomes a critical driver of talent retention.

As Karen Hebert-Maccaro, Chief Learning Experience Officer at O’Reilly Media, mentionsOpens a new window in an interview with us, “The integration of learning into the talent management framework (how learning plays in acquisition, development, retention, and succession) may also prove to be an interesting space to watch. As more sophisticated integrations between learning tools and HRIS systems evolve, we might see learning integrated more into the entire employee lifecycle.”

3. AI Will Be Increasingly Integrated into HR Processes

AI is seeping into every aspect of the HR function and the employee experience. With applications in recruiting, screening candidates, engaging employees, enabling onboarding, and enhancing the overall function that employees perform in the organization, AI is transforming the future of workOpens a new window . This has resulted in the growing demand for top data talent to join HR teams. HR data scientists who demonstrate a unique blend of data skills and people-related knowledge will be needed to handle critical data that informs AI-powered HR solutions.

4. Workplace Flexibility Is Increasingly Important to Engage Top Talent

Flexibility is an increasing requirement of the younger workforce and is an important trend shaping the future of workOpens a new window . The view of work in its traditional sense has changed. It is not central to people’s lives, and they aim to incorporate work into their existing routine rather than build a routine around it. Contributing to this need is the growing gig economy. Employees are now using workplace flexibility as an important parameterOpens a new window for choosing a job, and this will drive the quality of employee engagement and the consequent workforce. “This is a trend that shows no signs of stopping. Thirty-eight percent of hiring managers predict that their employees will work predominantly remotely in the next ten years,” saysOpens a new window Zoe Harte, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Talent Innovation, at Upwork, in an exclusive interview with HR Technologist.

5. Robotic Process Automation Will Improve the Quality of HR Operations

At UNLEASH 2018, Oliver Kasper, Head of HR Processes, Systems and Analytics, Swarovski, while speaking to HR Technologist, revealed that one of the top trends to track for 2019Opens a new window is the robotic process automation (RPA) of HR processes. RPA takes care of repetitive tasks, such as crafting offer letters to candidates, onboarding, induction, payroll processing, and the like. As HR practitioners become more open to using RPA technology in their daily tasks, they will find that it frees up their time to focus on tasks that demand more human decision-making, such as employee engagement processes.

How Can Organizations Catch Up with the Future of Work?

HR is at the heart of an organization’s digital transformation and is best placed to prepare the organization’s workforce for the future of work. Technologies are evolving fast, and some are turning obsolete even before they can be adopted. The only way to keep up, then, is to look ahead and prepare for this evolution through learning and adoption.