Businesses have undergone massive transformations since the turn of the century. At the center of such transformations have been the technological revolution, and more recently, an earth shattering pandemic. On the tech side of things, the introduction of widely used Artificial Intelligence has simplified thousands of mundane daily tasks, freeing up the time (and minds) of workers to advance products and services in groundbreaking ways. The pandemic, on the other hand, has changed how we work in a variety of other ways. This article details a few of the trends we’ve seen in business management and whether we see these new methodologies sticking around for the foreseeable future.
Developing Soft Skills
Soft skills are the new trend, but what are they exactly? To keep it simple, soft skills are related not only to what you do for work, but how you work. Soft skills include interpersonal skills, communication, listening, empathy, time management, and many others. As opposed to hard skills, which are learned, soft skills are far more difficult to gauge and evaluate. That doesn’t negate their importance, however.
The labor market is often not kind to those who are able to do just one thing, no matter how well it’s done. In 2021, workers are expected to have dabbled in a variety of industries and have several expertise. A marketing content writer, for example, should have skills to offer that go well beyond writing. While hard skills have been the major point of emphasis in days past, soft skills are now vital not only for interpersonal relationships within the workplace, but to find a “culture fit” between prospective employees and the companies to which they’re applying.
With a large portion of work taking place over the internet, the traditional office space and 9-5 office routine has quickly aged into a dated work model. In leading companies around the world, both employees and management teams alike have shifted towards either hybrid or sometimes completely remote work models.
Despite being a direct result of the ongoing pandemic, this business management trend is here to stay, with companies such as Facebook, Upwork, Slack, HubSpot, and many more embracing the future of hybrid/remote first work models. "In 2021, HubSpot will drop the 'ish' in 'remote-ish.' We’re going to shift to a hybrid remote-office model where career growth is equitable for everyone, whether you do your best work in an office or in a home office. It’s the right thing to do for our employees and candidates, and for growing a company we’re proud of long-term," said Katie Burke, Hubspot’s Chief People Officer.
The gig-economy is in full swing. Whether a worker is in the white or blue collar sector, the flexibility of the gig economy has grown in its appeal over the last year, with nearly 40% of America’s workers partaking in the gig-economy in 2017 alone.
The gig-economy’s appeal is only growing for both businesses and for gig-workers. Businesses love it because they can upkeep their regular operations and cut costs while bringing in quality talent for specialized projects. Gig-economy workers love it because it grants unprecedented flexibility in their hours and the projects they take on in the first place.
How It Bodes for the Future
The three trends listed above make somewhat noteworthy implications for the future of business management. Paying attention to soft skills impacts the inner workings of a business or organization; HR teams respond accordingly by finding not only qualified candidates with the “hard skills” (aka they have the adequate experience), but they look for good “culture fits” for the company and its purported value system. Remote work is here to stay, as exemplified by sundry large companies and their new remote-first/hybrid work models. The impact here is that workers from all walks of life, regardless of geography, have an opportunity to mix in their experience and perspective in companies that were once exclusive to city-dwellers. The growth of the gig-economy takes personal flexibility for workers to the next level while giving businesses and organizations the flexibility to bring on skilled labor at their own discretion. The future is now, and these new business management practices will continue to evolve.
How will you and your business adapt to these changes moving forward?