COVID-19 has changed the world of work forever. But looking ahead to 2022, Forrester predicts that the pandemic will be only one of four factors that will shape the future of work and force employers across the world to reinvent the workplace.
Forrester’s research found that robots and automation, the huge amount of employee data available to companies, as well as employee’s power in the workplace growing, also had a crucial role to play in the world of work in 2022 and beyond.
The market research firm found that companies are going to struggle with the hybrid, work from anywhere model. While 10% of companies will commit to a fully remote working model, the 60% looking to embrace hybrid, but one in three will fail.
Importantly, Forrester found that this will not be because of the virus, but because leaders will continue to “design meetings, job roles, and promotion opportunities around face-to-face experiences”.
“When it’s clear that productivity is suffering, these same execs will blame hybrid work rather than looking in the mirror at the real culprit”. Ultimately, the talent crisis that is underway is actually, according to Forrester, a management crisis.
It is clear that success at hybrid working needs an entire rethink about the workplace, particularly if you want to ensure that those who are working from home do not get overlooked or become second-class citizens.
“2022 is a year to be bold. The old ways of working no longer work. The future is up for grabs,” noted Forrester’s report.
Other failures in this respect will come from “the 30% of companies that insist on a fully in-office model, only to find that employees simply won’t have it.”
The report continued: “Attrition at these firms will rise above their industry averages — monthly quit rates will rise to as high as 2.5% for as much of 2022 as needed until executives feel the pain and finally commit to making hybrid work … work.”
Forrester also believed that all companies will fail to figure out how best to compensate their employees. This is because a 2020 survey by Forrester found that only 45% of US workers felt they were paid well for the work they do.
But it recommended that companies do not embrace location-based pay as they will lose their talent to competitors who are not penalizing employees for moving away from the office.
Forrester predicts that 2022 will see companies and leaders embrace human-centered tech transformation, rather than focusing on “digital sameness” or IT tools that do not work.
This approach will allow employers to “unlock the creativity of their employees and surround them with intelligent technologies such as automation and predictions engines that focus on outcomes, not just financial results”.
It predicts that tightening the link between customer experience and employee experience will help to drive up to 5% productivity gains.
Currently, only 48% of US companies have formal employee experience programs or tech, but Forrester believes this will grow to 65% in 2022 as companies realize doing this can really grow their creative and innovative capacity.
As a result, Forrester believes that employee experience will take up 20% of HR budgets in the first half of 2022.
Finally, Forrester predicts that one Fortune 1000 company will announce its workplace strategy is automation-first in order to urgently fill growing talent gaps. Who will it be?
Others who are unwilling to go that far. “Others, unwilling to go that far, will still see the value of heading in that direction”, so they will embrace robotics.
“They will quietly turn to solutions from vendors like Ava Robotics, Fetch Robotics, and Locus Robotics, that work side-by-side with human labor, enhancing productivity and lowering workers’ compensation claims from injuries.”
This will mean that “automation will transform 80% of jobs in some way by 2030”, the report concluded.
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