9 trends that will shape work in 2021 and beyond (2023)


While 2020 has been the most volatile year in modern history, it would be a mistake to think that we will have a smoother ride this year. In fact, the disruption rate will potentially accelerate through 2021 and beyond as the 2020 shock continues to ripple through the coming years. Here are nine predictions from Gartner's research director for the practice of HR.

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To be fair, 2020 has shaken up many organizations and business models, shifting priorities and plans as business leaders struggled to navigate a rapidly changing environment. For many organizations, this has included responding to social justice movements, transitioning to full-time employees, determining how best to support employee well-being, managing a hybrid workforce, and now legal concerns around the HIV vaccine. to Covid-19.

It would be good to think that 2021 will be one of stability and a return to normalcy; However, this year will likely be another year full of big transitions. While much of the future focus is on increasing the number of employees working remotely, at least some of the time, there are nine other forces that I believe will shape business in 2021:

1. Employers will move from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience of their employees. The pandemic has given executives a better perspective on the personal lives of their employees, who have faced unprecedented personal and professional struggles in the past year.

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It has become clear that supporting employees more effectively in their personal lives allows them to not only live a better life, but also perform at a higher level. RespectivelyGartner 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey, employers who support employees with their life experiences see a 23% increase in employees reporting better mental health and a 17% increase in employees reporting better physical health. There is also a real benefit for employers, who are seeing a 21% increase in the number of high performers compared to organizations that do not provide the same level of support for their employees.

Therefore, 2021 will be the year that employer support for mental health, financial health and even things that were previously considered taboo, such as sleep, will become the benefits offered to employees.

2. More and more companies are taking a stand in current social and political debates.Recently, there has been a growing desire among employees to work for organizations whose values ​​align with their own. In 2020, that desire accelerated:Gartner Researchshows that 74% of employees expect their employer to be moreactively involvedin the cultural debates of the time. I believe CEOs need to be responsive to retain and attract top talent.

However, statements about everyday topics are no longer enough: employees expect more. And CEOs who dedicated real resources to these problems were rewarded with more engaged employees.A Gartner Researchfound that when their organization responded to current social issues, the number of employees considered highly engaged increased from 40% to 60%.

3. The gender pay gap will continue to widen as employees return to the office.Many companies have already introduced, or plan to introduce later this year, a hybrid workforce that allows employees to work in the company's office, at home, or in an alternate third location (cafeteria, coworking space, etc.). In this hybrid landscape, we hear from CHROs that surveys of their own employees show that men are more likely to choose to return to work, while women are more likely to work from home.

Respectivelya recent Gartner survey, 64% of managers believe that office workers outperform remote workers, and in turn, office workers are likely to receive a higher raise than those who work from home. Although,DataThe data we collected in 2019 (before the pandemic) and 2020 (during the pandemic) show the opposite: full-time remote workers are 5% more likely to be high performers than full-time office workers.

(Video) Employee Experience Trends That Will Shape 2021 and Beyond

So if men are more likely to work in the office and managers prefer office workers, we should expect managers to reward male employees over female employees, suddenly widening the gender pay gap once the pandemic ends. occurreda disproportionate impactabout women

4. The new regulation will limit the surveillance of workers.During the pandemic, more than 1 in 4 companies bought new technology for the first time to passively track and monitor their employees. However, many of these companies still haven't decided how to balance employee privacy with technology, and employees are frustrated.Gartner Researchfound that less than 50% of employees trust their organization with their data and 44% are not informed about the data collected about them. In 2021, we expect a series of new state and local regulations that will begin to impose limits on what employers can track about their employees. Given the variability this creates, companies are likely to adopt more restrictive standards for their workforce.

5. Flexibility changes from place to place.While the ability for employees to work remotely has become commonplace throughout 2020 (and will continue this year and beyond), the next wave of flexibility is just around the corner.EEmployees are expected to work.

GartnersReimagineHR Employee Survey 2020found that only 36% of employees in organizations with a standard 40-hour work week were high performers. Organizations that offer their employees flexibility in when, where and how much they work see 55% of their workforce as high performers. In 2021, I expect an increase in new jobs where employees are measured by their performance rather than an agreed work schedule.

6. Leading companies will buy Covid vaccine for employees in bulk and be processed by Covid vaccine requirements.Employers who make the Covid vaccine available to their employees will use this measure as an important differentiator in attracting and retaining talent. Several companies are being sued, along with employers providing the vaccine, for requiring their employees to provide proof of vaccination before being allowed to return to work. The related lawsuit will delay return-to-work efforts even as vaccine use increases.

7. Mental support is the new normal.In recent years, employers have offered new benefits to support their employees, such as extended paternity leave. Even before the pandemicGartner Researchfound that 45% of wellness budget increases went to mental and emotional wellness programs. The Covid-19 pandemic has put well-being in the spotlight as employers are more aware than ever of the impact mental health is having on employees and the associated workplace.

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By the end of March, 68% of companies had introduced at least one new wellness benefit to help employees during the pandemic. In 2021, employers will go further as they work to destigmatize mental health by expanding mental health benefits and creating company-wide shutdown days to celebrate "a collective mental health day."

8. Employers will try to “hire” talent to fill the skills gap.The skills that employers are looking for have increased dramatically:our analysisshows that companies listed about 33% more skills in job advertisements in 2020 than they did in 2017. Ultimately, companies simply cannot reskill their existing workforce quickly enough to meet changing needs.

On the sidelines, some companies will refrain from trying to develop skills for an uncertain future and will instead only hire and pay a premium for those skills when the need actually materializes. Instead, other companies will expand their use of quotas and hiring contracts, or expand their partnerships with organizations to “hire” employees for short periods to meet the skills needs they face.

9. States will compete to attract individual talent rather than trying to get companies to move.Historically, states and cities have offered incentives to encourage companies to move into their jurisdictions. The belief is that if you can encourage companies to come, they will bring jobs with them. The new era of remote and hybrid work will build on this strategy: where an employee lives will be less tied to the location of their employer than ever before.

Given this separation between business location and employee location, states and cities will begin to use their tax policies to encourage people to move into their jurisdictions, rather than simply granting relocation tax credits to large companies. We're already seeing fledgling programs in cities like Topeka, KS and Tulsa, OK, where they offer remote workers up to $15,000 to move there. These jurisdictions will compete for individual workers and their jobs, not just the employer.

While 2020 was the most volatile year in modern history, we would be wrong to think that disruption is over. Instead, the disruption rate will potentially accelerate through 2021 and beyond as the 2020 shock continues to ripple through the coming years.

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