Workplace Trends: How will the People landscape transform over the next decade? - WorldHRDiary

February 11, 2021

Workplace Trends: How will the People landscape transform over the next decade?


By Vijay Sivaram


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought an inevitable global recession and turned business strategies and labour market on their heads, but none have been more affected than people – individuals participating in everyday activities in society. Every industry has been witness to sweeping changes and is still coming to terms with the new normal, but none more so than the staffing industry – where people are at the core of all operations.


Employment for the longest time, has existed in a binary, either government jobs or private jobs. Over the last few years, there has been a shift towards a more output-oriented outlook, with the focus moving from where one works to the skills and outcomes one generates. As a result, today, employment is fluid, with employers having the option to choose between a full time employee, a contractor or a gig worker based on the skills they possess towards driving a desired output. This fluidity makes wage cost more variable than ever before.


The contract staffing business has been an all-time high, especially in the wake of the pandemic, with businesses increasingly realising the importance of having a variable workforce that can make them fitter overnight. The contract workforce is estimated to show a continued growth of over 20% and gig employment is set to be all the rage. In September, Parliament also passed three crucial Labour Bills which will give a fillip to the gig ecosystem in India. The flexibility of gig work appeals to both workers and hiring firms, thus opening up newer job opportunities. 

Workplace Trends 2021
Representative Image

Here are some key factors to include in the People agenda for 2021:


Board the ‘Gig Economy’ Train

Indian IT services and consulting firms have already stepped up their hiring of gig workers in areas like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The size of the Indian gig economy is projected to grow by a 17% CAGR and expected to cross 15 million numbers. If a business is looking to hire highly skilled professionals on a project basis while also cutting down on administration and compliance costs, gig economy is the way to go. For job seekers, the gig economy can empower employees with flexible timings, additional income sources and independence to choose where and what they want to work on. There has begun a decided shift from the 9-to-5 job model to an on-demand and task-based workforce. Also, the advent of the labour codes will encourage job seekers to shift to the gig economy.


Man + BOT Working: The New Normal

When the lockdown started, many companies had to switch to remote work overnight, and a lot of them were unprepared. The new modus operandi has accelerated the need for digital transformation and altered how employees deliver their KRAs, engage with each other and remain productive. With regard to new hires, India has witnessed a 7x growth in applications for Work From Home (WFH) jobs in the last few months as compared to pre-COVID times. At the same time, this also opened up the ability to replace repetitive jobs with RPA, migrate to cloud services and digitize back end processes. For instance, a single human operator could previously make 10 calls a day, but with the help of a bot that helps align the calling database, the operator can now make 100+ calls a day. Enhanced Per Person Productivity is the new normal. 


Digitization – for some, it’s already too late

Digitization is business-critical today, for example, the right implementation of AI can help automate upto 75% of touchpoints for a business. It is essential to plan virtual strategies for practically any process in order for the company to survive. In recruitment for instance, technology is a paramount enabler and must be harnessed to its full potential. Implementing digital solutions and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to automate recruitment processes can improve compliance accuracy. Capabilities such as online video interviewing, online training, and digital candidate experience, that were previously viewed as “nice to have” strategies have now become essential if one wants to ensure that the company doesn’t lose out on quality talent approaching the firm. There has also been a growing demand for platform skills as CEOs build enterprise resilience.


Soft Skills: The New Power Pill

As more routine tasks are taken over by AI in the workplace, soft skills comprise the new expectation for employability in 2021. LinkedIn outlined the top soft skills for 2020: creativity, collaboration, persuasion, and emotional intelligence—all skills that demonstrate how people work with others and bring new ideas to the table. Hiring will now focus equally on an individual’s ability to work cohesively with a team as much as their skill competency.  The pandemic has caused paradigm shifts in many areas of business. Needless to say, the smart generalist stands tall versus the niche expert today. A good finance leader with a firm grasp of analytics or a good marketing professional with digital skills in his playbook is the new power pill.  

(Vijay Sivaram is Chief Executive Officer of Quess IT Staffing. Views are personal)

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