It’s fair to say that 2020 gave us no shortage of surprises, both in our personal and professional lives. While a new year has come and things are slowly returning to a sense of normalcy, some changes brought on by the pandemic aren’t likely to be leaving with it. It’s common to look at big changes from a “for better or worse” perspective, but when it comes to the new trends surfacing in the professional sphere, it’s healthier to assume that you can and will adapt to changing circumstances and technologies.
The pandemic forced us to work differently, whether that was wearing masks or working from socially distanced locations like our own homes. It forced us to hire differently, often entirely virtually. And it forced us to think of ways to use our workforces more effectively, as retraining an existing team was much easier than letting people go or bringing them on. But, as things begin to return to how they once were, employers have the opportunity to ask themselves “could these changes be beneficial long term?”
We’ve highlighted three ways to retool to get ahead of the competition. The changes will address the biggest effects on the working world in 2021. Naturally, there are some we excluded and things that will emerge that we can’t yet account for, but we believe the following are going to have the biggest impact on the lives and careers of employees this year.
Be Smart About Creating a Remote Work Environment
This is perhaps the most obvious one. Working remotely was one of the prominent lifestyle changes brought about by 2020, but it wasn’t a concept invented out of necessity. Many employees actively seek companies that are open to or already have a lenient work-from-home policy among their benefits.
Working from home is just more convenient for many employees, and the positive effects appear quickly, like falling dominoes, one impacting the next.
A new LinkedIn Study found that most employees want work from home capabilities. The bonus for employers? You now have a wider range of hiring options than ever before. Because employees are no longer bound to working from the office, they no longer have a rigorous morning commute. Because they can skip the commute, employees are less stressed, and thus more productive. Because they’re more productive, more high-quality work is accomplished throughout the day. Coincidentally, with the money they’re saving from not having to commute, employees feel the need to negotiate for raises less often.
Employers have taken notice about how allowing their workforces to operate remotely has, proverbially, passed the savings on to them. What once was considered a luxurious perk granted only to senior employees has now become a method for businesses to increase productivity and decrease expenses. We fully expect working remotely to stick around in a major capacity.
Be sure, though, to set expectations for remote employees. Working from home does present more opportunity for distraction, but studies have indicated there is an overall positive effect in terms of productivity. If you want some really happy employees, consider providing high-speed internet, webcams, and laptops as part of your benefits package.
The Rise of the Competency-Based Company
The old ways of measuring productivity are over. In a world where the job market is much more competitive and automation fulfills many jobs more efficiently than humans can, companies will need to draw on the highest of human skills to do the jobs that machines can’t perform.
According to a SHRM study, hiring based on competencies is the key to creating a more constructive, productive, and innovative workforce. And, not only can competency-based hiring help you to bring on board more well-rounded candidates, it can help you find hidden talent that was lying dormant in your existing workforce. With assessments, you can be certain that you have the right people with the right skills performing the right jobs. Working remotely isn’t beneficial to everyone—some employees may struggle or prefer the more structutred atmosphere of living in an office.
A competency-based approach means looking beyond the traditional methods used to recruit and screen candidates. While a resume can give you the general summary of where an applicant has been, competency tests can tell you something altogether more important: what an applicant is good at, what they enjoy, and how they achieve results. Some employers in the past have balked at the added effort it may take to switch to competency-based hiring, but consider this: the approach also reduces costly turnover by ensuring that you hire the right people and put them in roles that will keep them professionally satisfied.
An Enhanced Emphasis on Diversity
Diversity is the spice of life, both personally and professionally speaking! Employers are quickly discovering that diverse workforces lead to productivity and innovation, faster and better solutions to problems, and increased profits. With that in mind, it’s safe to forecast that employers will not just be hiring with diversity as a bullet point on their “nice-to-have list”, but start actively posting jobs in a way that engages diverse applicants.
However, potential employees shouldn’t get dismayed at the thought that they might not be “diverse enough” to land a highly-coveted job. The silver lining to this revamped way of hiring is that nearly everybody is diverse in some respect. Diversity does not simply mean “not white”—although there is a racial gap in employment that a diverse workforce would help to decrease. No, diversity means diversity of race, religion, and gender, but also background, education, and skill.
Of course, in a lot of ways, these three things all go hand in hand, and by implementing one, companies are likely to see benefits of the other two. Allowing employees to work remotely will open up the potential for candidates not within driving distance of the office, which will probably introduce diversity. By aiming to hire diverse candidates, you’ve likely already integrated some unbiased aspects into your hiring process. And so on.
How can your company keep up with evolving trends like extended remote work, shift to a competency-based work environment, and make sure you’re hiring the most qualified but also diverse candidates, closing the equity gap, and providing opportunities for skilled employees all over the map?
MyInnerGenius career fit assessments help you match applicants to the position you’re hiring for with far better accuracy than standard hiring practices like resumes and interviews. We aim to help companies rebalance their workforce, reduce turnover, and hire the people who can do the best job, not the ones who look the best on paper. Our assessments yield proven positive results (just ask IBM and Starbucks). Ready to try one—for free? For more info on our career fitness assessments and to enjoy a free demo, visit us at https://trywebassess.com/request_demo/