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4 Trends Companies Are Exploring to Prepare for the Future of Work


The modern workforce and workplace undergo changes routinely and see new trends emerge on a yearly (if not quicker) basis. Employers and their leaders are constantly tasked with keeping up in order to avoid disruptions to the business and its employees.

But this is often easier said than done, especially for smaller employers. Yet the importance of workforce planning cannot be understated as the talent market grows more competitive.

Earlier this summer, Mercer released the results of their Global Talent Trends 2019 Study, which took a closer look at some of the biggest changes taking shape within the business and talent worlds.

The results revealed some important changes that are occurring for employers today. Let’s take a closer look at some of the data.


The 2019 survey was taken by 7,300 individuals which included 800 C-Suite executives, 1,600 HR leaders, and 4,800 employees.

Right away, the report shows that 73% of executives believe there will be significant industry disruption over the next 3 years. In last year’s report, only 26% said the same.

When it comes to human capital concerns, the survey lists the top 7 for employers:

  • Excessive time to fill positions – 52%
  • Declining employee engagement – 43%
  • Inadequate diversity – 40%
  • Thin leadership pipeline – 38%
  • Ineffective hiring decisions – 35%
  • Lagging productivity – 31%
  • Slow decision making – 30%

And despite the importance of talent management for employers today (especially employee burnout, turnover, and recruiting), just 33% of executives say their company is “very effective” at mitigating people risks.


The next few sections of the survey look at four trends Mercer identified that companies are exploring in 2019: aligning work to future valuebuilding brand resonancecurating the work experience, and delivering talent-led change.

Looking at trend number 1 (aligning work to future value), the report showed that 30% of companies believe they are able to change at speed, compared to just 18% in last year’s study.

Mercer’s data also showed the importance of having an integrated people strategy for preparing for the future. High-growth organizations are four times more likely to have an integrated people strategy.

Here are a few more data points revealed for trend number 1:

  • Redesigning jobs is considered by executives to have the highest ROI
  • 65% of employees want a clear, accurate job description
  • Just 43% of HR leaders are redesigning jobs to prepare for the future of work

Under trend 1, it was also shown how important training is for both employers and employees to be ready for the future of work.

83% of employees see it as their responsibility to keep up with their skills. Meanwhile, employers list employee-directed learning (59%), formal reskilling programs (55%), and informal hands-on learning (50%) as the top methods used by HR.


Next, the survey highlights the value an employer’s brand has today and into the future.

When asked to name where they feel their greatest sense of professional belonging, here’s how employees responded:

  • To your company – 21%
  • To a profession – 17%
  • To a function – 14%
  • To your department – 13%
  • To an industry – 13%

It was also shown how brand resonance helped with attracting and retaining employees. 54% of employees said managing work-life balance is one of the top things their employer can do to help them succeed in their role.

Additionally, 78% of thriving employees said they had a positive hiring experience.

Next, the report goes into trend 3: curating the work experience. An important finding is that thriving employees are almost four times more likely to work for an employer that understands their skillset.

And when it comes to providing employees with the tools needed to succeed, thriving workers are three times more likely to say their organization provides the resources they require to do their work efficiently.


The fourth and final trend explored in the survey was delivering talent-led change.

It was shown that only 50% of employees feel their employer listens to their ideas for improving the company. Employees were also asked to list the top three things that could improve their performance:

  • Additional benefits for high performers
  • Clear performance ratings
  • Team goals to promote collaboration

And when it comes to embracing digital HR, 75% of employers provide state-of-the-art digital tools that help employee learning and development.

Last, the survey touched on the importance of data and people analytics to help drive change. However, just 12% of employers currently use predictive analytics.


The future of work can be a scary and stressful topic for employers, especially smaller businesses and their owners.

But by taking certain actions and keeping up with emerging trends, companies of all sized can put themselves in position to thrive as the workforce and workplace continue to change.

One area of HR is becoming increasingly more difficult for small employers to properly handle — maintaining compliance with employment laws. Download our eBook, Guide to Employment Law: Topics Employers Must Know to Stay Compliant, to learn more about some of the biggest trends and topics in employment law.

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