PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Workplace trends for 2021 James Moorhouse, Director, ABN Resource

The past year established several key workplace trends that businesses need to consider when shaping their workplace for 2021:

Flexible working Multiple studies show increased demand for flexible working arrangements. According to McKinsey & Company, only 37% of staff want to be onsite for work full time, pre covid the figure was 62%. The same research also indicates that flexible working seems to be settling on a hybrid set-up where traditionally office-based jobs are now split 3 days office 2 days at home. For employees, flexible working solutions can facilitate productive work, and the ability to balance personal commitments. Employers can benefit from a happier, higher-performing workforce with the right support and structures to support flexible working.

Businesses that embrace flexible working will have access to broader talent pools; organisations will be more attractive to top talent, and will benefit from new hires, at reduced overhead cost with increased productivity and profits. This has been really helpful to companies with highly specialised roles that have been hard to fill even before the pandemic.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is not a new concept but in 2021 it is critical to building a thriving business. D&I means not only hiring based on demographics like gender and race, but it also accounts for cognitive diversity where different minds and different ways of approaching work can help deliver innovation, creativity and improve performance. For example, Gartner found that inclusive teams improve performance by up to 30% in high-diversity environments. In a BCG study, companies with diverse management teams had a 19% increase in revenue compared to their less diverse counterparts.

D&I efforts not only strengthen a workforce by positively shaping the workplace culture and ensuring


equal opportunities, but they can assist in meeting the increasing demand of attracting and retaining highly skilled workers. They can help expand the pool of interested and talented candidates and encourage these new workers to remain in the company long-term as they are in an organisation that supports Diversity & Inclusion.

Value alignment The need for a strong employee value proposition (EVP) that helps potential applicants understand what it is that a company stands for is our third key trend. Employees want to be part of an organisation that genuinely cares about its employees. Candidates are drawn to employers who are able to articulate a company’s values and overall purpose and how their roles can potentially play their part within that framework.

A Gartner study revealed that employers who deliver on their EVP can improve employee retention by as much as 69%. And LinkedIn reports that 83% of employers believe their EVP has a considerable influence on their ability to attract and hire the best talent out there.


Generation Z and Millennials are placing increasing emphasis on meaningful work over earning a high salary. PWC reported that more than 65% of the modern workforce wants to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world. Given the talent acquisition challenges facing lubricants organisations, this type of message needs to reach the next generation of budding scientists, engineers and technicians. By ignoring this growing desire, lubricant businesses risk restricting their access to a young, talented and socially responsible workforce.


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