by Cornerstone OnDemand
16 Jan 2020
4 Workplace Trends Making Work a Better Place in 2020
How you can transform your workplace and ready it for the new decade ahead
Now that we’ve all, more or less, settled into the new year (ahem, decade!), there’s a good chance, like me, you’ve been pummeled with prediction after prediction about what’s in store for the year ahead. And there’s an even better chance that, less than ten days in, you’re already tired of reading about predictions. So, rest assured, that’s not what’s happening here.
However, if you’ve been following along with us over the last year or so, you’ve probably caught on that our primary reason for existing, in many ways, is to make your workplace better, by helping you supercharge your recruitment efforts, increase employee retention, create a culture of learning, and, most importantly, boost overall employee satisfaction and happiness.
So in keeping with the “new year” spirit, before all of our 12-o’clock-at-midnight resolutions go out of style, we thought it was worth taking a few moments to underscore a handful of noteworthy workplace trends that are already quickly evolving our industry for the better, helping us all create better, stronger, happier, and more productive workplaces. Let’s dive in.
1. Adoption of performance management and learning solutions is on the rise among SMB’s
We are launching the results of our very own Performance Management Survey in March 2020—so be on the lookout. For now, however, it’s worth giving you a sneak peek into some of our findings, most notably that only 45% of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are currently using performance management and learning software. In other words, most SMBs still rely, way too heavily, in our humble opinion, on manual processes: spreadsheets, email, big file folders, sticky notes, and fax machines. (Got to ask, do fax machines really still exist?)
The problem here is that these processes are simply not efficient; they are tedious to manage and, because there’s really no “glue” connecting all of the pieces together, it’s tough to gain or glean insights from the data available. Fortunately, there is a bright spot in this still largely analog world: 52% of companies now regularly provide feedback as a standard practice, well beyond the standard annual performance review. This is good news. It means that our message about the importance and value of continuous performance management is sticking. Now, it’s just a matter of all SMB’s getting onboard with these kinds of solutions, like Cornerstone Performance and Cornerstone Learning, so that they can take their operations to the next level—and, well, the next decade, too!
2. “Performance Coach” will be one (of many) new future jobs
A lot of interesting job titles have popped up over the last few years. We’re going to add a new one to the list: Performance Coach. Aside from being a title with quite a bit of swagger, the role of performance coach will straddle the lines between HR and all the people managers within an organization. In our yet-to-be-published Performance Management Survey, managers consistently reiterated that they had “too many time constraints,” were often “too busy,” didn’t have the right “structure or strategy in place,” and had “limited coaching skills” to truly be outstanding managers. The good news is, as mentioned above, implementing tools and solutions to automate and streamline once analog processes will help. Not to mention, it’ll address the feedback gleaned in our survey above by saving managers a lot of time, energy, and effort at every step of the way.
And this is precisely where the Performance Coach comes into play. This person will, as a megaphone for the HR team, guide people managers along a journey that will make them, you guessed it, better people managers. From teaching managers how to use new tools and solutions to coaching managers on skills that will be invaluable to them throughout their careers, these new employees will be there to ensure that your performance and learning goals are achieved. In all honesty, it’s no different than a fitness coach; these people are there to ensure managers are progressing in their own goals and, in turn, supporting the growth and development of their own teams like never before. (No treadmills included…)
3. Learning and development is quickly becoming table stakes
We talk a lot about learning and development. Unfortunately, based on a Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace study, only 48% of companies currently say they spend more than $500 per year on continuing education for employees. (Let’s not even get started with the other 52%!) However, what’s most striking about this stat is that, at the same time, 64% of HR leaders say that there’s a growing skills gap in their companies. So, if this is true, where is the disconnect? Why aren’t more companies investing in meaningful learning and development? (Trust us, we ask ourselves the same question all the time!)
It’s time to close that gap—and, fortunately, it’s never been easier, thanks to solutions like Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone’s new Digital Native Advancement (DNA) program, designed specifically to engage and meet the needs of new Gen Z employees now entering the workplace in waves. Also, aside from being readily available, it’s worth noting that employees actually want to learn, too. Sure, they come to work to do the job they were hired to do, but they also want to advance in their careers at some point. Learning and development is not only the best way to future-proof your current employees but also proven tactic for improving employee retention, well-being, and happiness. This all comes at a time when the workplace is evolving rapidly, where learning and development can no longer be viewed as simply a “nice to have.” It is now table stakes—that is, unless you want to see your employees jump ship and go to another company that supports their growth and development.
4. Technology is making work more efficient (and fun!)
Did you know that, on average, HR professionals waste 200+ hours a year on manual processes? If you’re anything like me—always searching for a few more hours in a day to get work done—then you probably would want those 200 hours back. The truth is, there are too many great tools and solutions out there today to let this wasteful trend continuing being a trend. If there’s ever been a time to make a resolution to stop being a paper-pusher, the time is now.
As an HR professional, your company expects you to be strategic, to help employees be more effective and productive, and to build and nurture a dynamic workplace culture. You can’t truly be successful at that if you don’t have the right tools to support you every step of the way. So, if you find yourself saying, “I wish I had more hours in a day to do…” and are still relying on manual, inefficient processes to get your work done, take it as a sign that things need to change. Investing in the right tools, technology, and solutions is just as much an investment in your own happiness as it is in the success and well-being of your entire company.
As you can see, the very definition of the workplace is rapidly evolving—and many of the workplace trends noted above are already a work-in-progress. It’s only a matter of time—and that time is approaching quickly—until SMBs finally hit the proverbial tipping point, where technology, platforms, and solutions will replace manual, tedious, and inefficient processes; the value of continuous performance management will serve as a key driver of employee retention; and the creation of a dynamic culture of learning, growth, and development will breed a new level of employee satisfaction and happiness like never before.
These will all become de facto workplace standards in the very near future. So, the million dollar question is: are you ready to prepare and propel your workplace into the next decade? If so, Cornerstone is here to help. Learn more today.
(And it goes without saying… Happy New Year!)