Our team of EX Scientists have donned their soothsayer hats to see what’s coming around the corner in 2020. From AI to climate change, here are the opportunities and challenges that will define the next 12 months…

1. Companies will seek out the bad (not just the good)

Angry Glassdoor commenters may currently be unwelcome for many business leaders, but forward-thinking EX professionals will actively seek them out. Passive as well as active listening will become the norm. This will include unsolicited comments by current and ex-employees about their work experiences (good and bad) on social. EX leaders of the future will use passive listening to inform their employee engagement programs.

2. We won’t dream of CX without EX

And as organizations increasingly realize EX is crucial to their CX strategies, leaders will become far more invested in getting their EX programs not just up to scratch, but world-class. The c-suite will no longer see EX as a nice-to-have, but an essential part of their overall business strategy.

3. EX won’t just sit with HR

The future of employee experience won’t be siloed within one team. It will be a wider organizational effort including CIOs (experience with IT), CFOs (experience with financial matters) and workplace design teams (experience with physical space).

4. New skills will be highly sought after

There’s an HR skills chasm looming and those who can fill it with sought-after skills will be in high demand. Plugging the skills gaps within HR has been vastly underestimated. Identifying skills gaps in your team now, and where they could be in the future for your organization isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s essential.

5. The global village

According to the Chinese calendar, 2020 is the Year Of The Rat. Not so, according to our predictions. Next year will be the Year Of The Person, as we adopt a more people-focused approach in managing EX.

In the brave new world of remote workers it will become easier than ever for the people with the best skills to work for your organization – particularly useful with the skills gap looming. But this will also cause an influx of different cultures, views and ideas. Organizations that know how to cater to the individual (and not just the many) will thrive as they’ll be able to offer the most tailored EX.

Extending onboarding of new employees to current employees with cross-boarding/re-boarding as employees change roles & jobs within companies more frequently than before.

6. AI will come into its own

Not just with sourcing the right candidates for roles, but also with ways of working. If you want to know which combination of team members work best together, or which employees would be well suited to take the lead on a certain project, AI will be able to give you these crucial insights. Saving you time, negating gut feel and creating a huge impact operational efficiency.

7. Personalized journeys for everyone

Just as personalization will be at the forefront of customer experience, it will take center stage for employee experience too. Rather than treating everyone the same, EX will become increasingly about adapting to the individual.

8. D&I will get the visibility it deserves

Chief Diversity Officers will become more invested in individuals’ personalized EX. It will be imperative to collect feedback from targeted employee groups such as female or ethnic minority employees on their unique journey across their tenure at work. The organizations that do this well will be rewarded.

9. Agile ways of working will become the norm

Agile ways of working mean HR and People teams can implement changes faster. This is not only ideal for productivity, but it means they can do more of what is working and less of what isn’t. Those at the head of the pack will be continuously re-designing better ways of working in this way.

10. Closing the loop will become more important than ever

Closing existing EX feedback loops will become more important than starting new listening programs for organizations. Once employees start to see real change then their trust levels will increase dramatically, and will encourage overall positive knock-on effect across the organization.

11. HR will be the COE for EX best practice

Currently HR and People teams have to deal with a lot of admin. This bogs down processes and eats up time that would be better spent working on more transformative change. Once these teams start to utilize technology more, they can free up more time to be strategic and drive real change within the business. HR and People teams will become centers of excellence (COE) for EX best practice, not admin.

12. EX will be combined with PX, BX and CX

EX practitioners will begin to blend CX, PX, BX, and EX concepts for win-win situations where they can test their products and customer services, but also show the benefit to the overall employee experience and shared changed management. Once they see how powerful combining these experiences are, they’ll start to roll-out the impact across the board.

13. Guided Action Planning will encourage an always-on approach

Guided Action Planning will turn us towards ‘keep the conversation going’ strategies with smaller feedback loops within teams. This will encourage continuous change and improvement.

14. Data transparency will be paramount

Privacy laws will continue to push companies towards higher data transparency with their users. EX data isn’t need-to-know for senior leaders, but instead becomes a distinctive recruitment metric and companies feel pushed to be transparent with their EX data (and privacy policies and governance becomes a clearer standard).

15. New ways of working

We no longer live in a 9-5pm, Monday-Friday world. The 4-day week, flexible working, non-tracked holidays are currently all trendy ideas and relatively new concepts in the world of work, but ones that will need to be explored to attract and retain talent.

If we expect people to work longer hours to accommodate different markets and business needs, we also need to give them an experience that makes this worth their while. And with technology allowing for 24/7 work, there will be a massive shift to accommodate flexible working practices.

16. We’ll bid farewell to paper trails

The ink will dry on the very last paper survey that a company will deliver. Everything will be kept in the cloud and connected digitally as part of their holistic listening programs.

17. Output will beat input

For far too long companies have focused on how much employees put in. As people work remotely more, presenteeism will become a thing of the past. Long hours will give way to strong outputs, letting people forget about being in the office or online and more about real business results. The EX of 2020 will be about output, not input.

18. We’ll stay in touch more with ex-employees

Technology will be far more pivotal in helping businesses communicate with and track those ex-employees regarded as ‘good leavers.’ This will unlock a whole host of benefits. Including:

  • Giving the EX leaders ideas of what to do differently next time to retain these individuals
  • Enabling HR and talent acquisition leaders to potentially tempt them back in the future
  • Opening up the talent pool. They may recommend the organization to their network if they’ve had a good exit experience

19. Values will matter more than ever before

Just as consumers want more meaning and shared values when exchanging money, so do employees when exchanging labor. More so than ever before, people will care that their values are represented by the organization they work for.

Their experience and engagement will be intrinsically tied to how much they feel those values are understood and represented by their organization. Organizations’ attitude to climate change will be particularly decisive.

Ultimately, organizations that make their values clear and uphold them boldly, will have more chance of retaining key talent.

20. Data, data and more data

HR, people leaders and EX teams will live or die by the quality of their data. Data will help to inform every area of our working lives. You can expect employers to increasingly experiment more with employee A/B testing, data experimenting and surveying. All with powerful, positive results.

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