The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global labour market, with sudden and severe short-term consequences as millions lost their jobs or were put on furlough. For those who continued working, though, the rules of the game had changed. For frontliners whose jobs required them being onsite throughout lockdowns, such as healthcare and sanitary workers, new measures were taken to reduce the spread of the virus. For others, whose jobs enabled them to work from home, there were other new practices to follow.
Ultimately, the world of work has changed forever, thanks to the pandemic. So, what are the major trends shaping the future of work post COVID-19?
Hybrid Work Culture
As lockdown rules eased and were eventually removed, companies evolved to create a hybrid work environment, allowing employees the flexibility of working at the office or remotely. This arrangement enables employees to have better work-life balance and independence, and have a higher level of empowerment in terms of managing their own time and daily itinerary. For employers, this means having a more productive, healthy and stable workforce.
There is no doubt that this flexibility is welcomed by employees: A 2022 Gallup survey found that nine in 10 remote-capable employees prefer some degree of remote-work flexibility going forward, and six in 10 specifically prefer hybrid work. Further, an astounding 54 percent of employees who were currently working exclusively from home said they would likely look for another job if their employer stopped offering remote work options, while 38 percent of hybrid workers said the same.
However, there are many factors to consider before adopting such a culture, otherwise an organisation might find itself grappling with low productivity and employee satisfaction. The hybrid workplace of today must be deliberately deployed, utilising cutting-edge HR technology that fosters connection, collaboration, and employee engagement. Companies would need to ensure their workforce has access to technology, such as fast and reliable internet connectivity and video conferencing tools, to ensure seamless work processes and workflow.
Rising People Costs, Shortage of Critical Talent
Post-pandemic, Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) are faced with a tremendous challenge balancing the rising people costs and addressing the shortage of critical talent. This is caused by a scarcity of local talent, high competition in the labour market, as well as overall rising inflation and cost of living.
Companies need to develop highly effective and efficient talent strategies that will not only attract talent from the market but also retain good talent within the organisation. They would need to look at creating a labour market within the organisation, which fosters employee mobility, allowing them to move easily from current roles to other existing or newly created roles. Tapping into the wider labour force, companies have to construct effective talent sourcing strategies that produce fast results, for example utilising highly attractive employee referral schemes, sourcing talent globally, and using global Employer of Record (EOR) services, where employees are employed by an organisation for tax purposes while performing work at a different company.
Technology Overcoming Disparity and Bias in Hiring
Another emerging trend in the future of work is how technology overrides the significant impact a recruiter has on the individuals an organisation hires. While recruiters look at a candidate’s experience and qualifications, they would also consider the fit of the candidate, and how they themselves feel about the candidate. This causes candidates with certain kinds of profiles only to get actual visible time with hiring managers, making the hiring system reliant on only a small handful of recruiters.
Technology intervention brings wider market reach, transparency in applicant database, recruiter’s selection criteria, ratings and reasons for shortlisting. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR tech boasts many benefits, including making unbiased candidate matching possible; using predictive analytics to find the best fit candidates; as well as being able to recommend the most appropriate sourcing channels for specific roles. Recognising the rising demand for this in the war for talent, the past few years has seen the introduction of many new applications in the market to help businesses eliminate disparity and bias in hiring while speeding up the recruitment process.
Technology in People Connectivity and Human-Centric HR
In the post pandemic world of hybrid work, gone are the large offices and massive campuses of the past, as HR tech shifts towards attracting, engaging and managing talent, the new corporate real estate.
As the world enters the endemic phase, workplace culture is gravitating towards small, lively, and well-connected offices not far from employee hubs, representing a whole new paradigm in human resource management.
Simple, creative, and all-encompassing tools for managing collaboration and productivity are quickly becoming a business essential as many processes of making decisions today is driven by technology, with the usage of data collection, analysis, and presentation.
Bringing It All Together
It is evident that the future of work post COVID-19 will see technology playing a significant role from recruitment to managing existing and future workforce. Technology, when correctly deployed, will open doors that allow for coordinating and communicating in a structured manner, creating a smoother talent journey from recruitment to onboarding, as well as career progression within organisations.