Trends that are not new

As usual some major HR trends were announced at the start of this year. The majority of them highlighted a clear link between necessary changes in HR and a talent retention strategy. The following three trends are often cited:

  • The transformation of the work environment
  • The cloud
  • Data analysis

They actually correspond to major changes observed over several years and will certainly gain further momentum in 2016. Moreover, “attracting and retaining talent” is a concern for many companies more than ever.

However, considering these developments as three separate trends amounts to rehashing trends. This might make you think they are new, but if anything, the opposite is true. Some (rarely all at the same time) are already in place in many companies.

For example, in an international survey on flexible working[1], the percentage of companies that have already introduced the concept of independent work time, location and duration seems rather significant:

  • 64% in the UK
  • 57% in Germany
  • 48% in the Netherlands
  • 38% in Belgium

The French figures amount to 40%. The transformation has been in progress for some time now.

 

Consider the new world of work as THE trend in 2016

It might be interesting to look at the evolution of the work environment, the cloud and data analysis as a single trend: the new world of work (NWW).
This view would enable changes to the work environment to be considered in a much more global manner. It is no longer just an issue of telecommuting or flexitime but also changes at the management level of employees and the method of working together. This would also highlight the cloud and data analysis as tools that enable these changes to be implemented in each company’s working method.

Specifically, the challenge of this year will be implement technology to support the work principles version 2016. Focus points should be flexibilitycooperation and management by objectives, …).

This is indeed a challenge as European employees have a lot of expectations around this. Some of them are not yet convinced according to the Work Monitor’s results conducted by Randstad in 33 countries in 2014.

Here are some interesting facts about the above-mentioned countries in the article:

Respondents

BE FR UK DE NL

Are more performant in team

54% 58% 54% 52% 44%

Feel they get the right tools to collaborate

50% 58% 63% 57% 44%

Feel technology makes collaboration more important

85% 82% 83% 85% 82%

Feel individual evaluations make collaboration less valuable

41% 44% 61% 52% 31%

Feel cross-departmental teams surpass regular ones

74% 81% 64% 54% 67%

 

 

These figures show that – in the context of the New world of work philosophy – you have to look beyond the evolution of the work environment towards higher flexibility.We are talking about collaboration of mixed teams, adapting the evaluation method and the technology to the challenge.

All of this would only be possible with powerful software capable of:

  • remote work and outside of office hours
  • the roll out of the company’s strategic objectives
  • tracking personal goals and actions taken by employees to achieve them
  • team but also interdepartmental collaboration
  • operational data to analyse performance and continuously evaluate

The cloud already offers collaborative platforms and reporting tools. But these technologies are still too often overlooked or underutilised. More so, it is hard to find one that combines all of the above.

In conclusion, it would seem that by using available technology and making the most of your opportunities, the new world of work can become a reality in 2016. With the key being the ideal conditions with which to attract and retain talent. Indeed, according to several studies, including that of Kluwer[2], the main expected benefits are increased productivity (21%), an increase in employee satisfaction (21%) and increased flexibility (19%).

 

[1] BakkerElkhuizen 2013, International Survey on flexible work conducted among 400 HR professionals in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

[2] Kluwer 2013 Study “The new world of work” from 6,211 HR professionals, employees and line managers.