Five trends driving workplace change

Written by
Annabel Jones

11 Nov 2016

11 Nov 2016 • by Annabel Jones

Here at ADP, we have analysed the perceptions of employees and employers across 13 countries, and have found that there are five key trends driving the evolution of the global world of work.


Employees’ ability to work when, where and how they desire is becoming an increasingly important factor influencing their engagement. In fact, 96% of employees believe they will be able to work from anywhere in the world, while 83% believe they will soon define their own work schedule. It is essential that HR professionals improve global connectivity and flexibility, as well as ensure that teams remain well connected so they can work in a way that suits their needs. 


Employees crave greater access to the people, tools and information needed to get their work done and to learn new skills. In fact, nearly all employees (99%) say they will use technology to learn anything, anytime, anywhere, while a staggering 85% say social media will become the preferred platform for collaboration. Multinational firms, in particular, must consider how they can better enable cooperation and knowledge sharing between teams and locations. By having access to advanced technology and global resources, employees can learn new skills and keep their work moving.



Individuals previously defined job security by tenure. However, with shifts in the workplace – especially increased automation – employees are turning their focus on building wider professional networks and finding non-linear jobs to extend their career. Interconnectedness enables companies to work with the best talent across the globe, opening new opportunities for employees at multinational companies. Employers should help their workers gain a sense of how they can remain relevant – not redundant.

Self management

There are signs that organisational hierarchy may disappear due to technology connecting people at all levels and information being more readily available. This also frees up time from management and governance tasks. In fact, 92% of UK employees believe they will primarily rely on self-help to solve problems, mitigating the need for management intervention. HR professionals need to consider whether hierarchical structures are necessary, guiding organisations through this time of change. 

Meaningful work

Today’s workforce is looking beyond pay as a motivating factor. A staggering 88% of future leaders – millennials – have a strong desire for work that is personally meaningful and positively impacts society. In order to attract and retain top talent, it is essential that HR professionals consider how they can incorporate meaning and personal fulfillment into careers, helping organisations to become more appealing to current and prospective employees. 

The workplace of the future is arriving now. HR professionals must keep pace with the emerging trends and embrace what’s to come. By implementing future-focused HR strategies, businesses will be strongly positioned to compete in the global economy.

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