There is no denying that pandemics and events from last year altered the way we work today. It is safe to say that most organizations do not plan to return to their pre-Covid19 business strategies anytime soon. Many of the changes that we saw last year will continue to have a lasting impact as we move forward. Five major workforce transformation trends will shape the way we work in 2021.

Accelerated Rates of Digital Transformation Continue

One trend from 2020 that will continue this year is the acceleration of digital transformation. Last year, it was essential for organizations to adopt new technologies to adapt to the turbulent business environment changes. Digital transformation was needed for survival. The successful adoption of new software and the implementation of automation has streamlined complex processes.

Organizations that made these changes have seen significant improvements. Now in 2021, businesses are implementing transformation initiatives to further optimize the workplace. Attitudes towards digital transformation have shifted in a more positive direction. According to a recent survey conducted by the McKinsey Company, 83% of executives reported faster adoption rates of automation (1).

High tech workforce transformation solutions are growing in popularity in nearly every industry. Many companies are now using robots to clean storefronts. HR professionals are learning analytics to improve employee experiences and help their organizations to develop stronger business strategies. Many business leaders have also empowered their frontline workers with mobile enablement.

Revamping the Digital Workplace

The events of last year caused an enormous shift in the way we work. Remote teams grew exponentially overnight. Employees at every level had to learn new skills to adapt. As we begin to move forward and business leaders are developing their post Covid19 plans, we do not expect to see the remote workplace disappear.

We expect to see more flexible work schedules emerge. Many organizations are planning to create hybrid environments where employees work in the office a few days a week and work the rest of the time remotely. Human resources departments have found that while employees enjoy the flexibility of remote work, they still desire the social aspect of working in an office.

A huge part of human capital transformation this year will be the development of these hybrid work environments. HR professionals will be using employee data to determine what measures can be taken to improve collaboration, communication, and connectivity moving forward.

Closing the Digital Skills Gap

The fast-paced adoption of technology has provided many benefits, but these business transformations have also created a skills gap that can’t be ignored. Many jobs today look completely different than they did just a year ago. Several entirely new jobs have been created.
What is truly shocking is that only 16% of new hires today have the skills needed for their current jobs (2).

These changes have created a huge need for employee re-skilling. Digital transformation is only effective if there is a successful adoption of the tech that has been implemented. To put it more simply, it will only work if your employees can effectively use it.
This why we likely see large investments in employee learning and development programs moving forward. Organizations will need robust, comprehensive training plans for future success.

The Emergence of Super Teams

The idea of teams is not a new one. Teams can increase innovation through collaboration and communication. They can increase both morale and productivity. During the pandemic, teams played a critical role in helping businesses adapt quickly.

AI is commonly thought of as a tool that can take over manual processes and labor for people, but it can be used for more. The concept of super teams in the idea that teams can integrate AI to augment performance. Organizations are starting to look at different ways AI can be used to enhance a team’s abilities.

AI can help teams achieve more quickly and often more cost-effectively. We are beginning to see leading organizations create super teams where AI is used for purposes such as predictive modeling, collaboration across long distances in real-time, and detecting patterns more quickly.

Final Note

The future of work will not just be about the adoption of new technology. There will be a significant focus on the employee experience. We will begin to see businesses take a new approach and integrate AI into their everyday work practices to enhance human capabilities. Learn more about the future of work and watch the webinar replay, L&D Vision 2021.

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