The Changing Workforce: top trends to improve employee engagement

19 December 2019 - Reading time: 5 Minutes

HR management

There’s no doubt that the world of work has changed in the past decade. Organisations have been more focused on employee wellbeing and happiness than ever before, with some even considering the option of a four-day working week. Wellbeing was also a key topic at the CIPD’s annual conference in Manchester this year, which provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss and debate how to successfully manage mental health and wellbeing in international organisations.

As Michael Custers, our CMO, outlined in a recent Employer News article, “in 2020, we will continue to see people wanting to control their work/life balance, so businesses are going to need to adapt their HR and payroll processes so that the boundaries and fixed agreements become more fluid to accommodate”.

Prioritising Flexible Working

This focus on flexibility is supported by Peter s'Jongers, CEO of Protime, who explains that employees are asking for more flexibility to determine their own working locations and hours. Our recent study with Protime supported this view, and found that 59% of all UK companies let employees choose where and/or when to work. Alongside this, co-working / working from flexible workspaces has been adopted by many in the Netherlands (46%) followed by the United Kingdom (34%), Belgium (29%), Germany (25%) and France (23%).

Recent news has been scattered with articles that debate flexible working and how much employees should really be working. An article in Personnel Today, for example, argues that the traditional 9am-5pm working day is quickly disappearing. With flexible working becoming an option for many employees, we’re likely to see an increased number of organisations offering employees this as a standard way of working, rather than a work perk.

The Decade of Digitalisation

With more technology being introduced into organisations of all sizes, employees now have more control and autonomy over where and how they work. This not only helps to improve the employee experience, but also improves productivity.

From digital assistants, chatbots, robotic process automation and blockchain, the workforce has plenty of technology to engage with. As outlined in CRF Research’s Harnessing the HR Technology Revolution Report, HR leaders need to be prepared to have their plans frequently disrupted and be ready to change direction.

No matter the size of the organisation, technology and digitalisation is not out of reach. As Josh Bersin, the president and founder of Bersin & Associates, argues, “the mid-market has similar appetite for technology and similar high complexity as enterprise market”. However, the mid-sized market does not necessarily have the in-house HR expertise required to support them. For example, recent research revealed that 25% of Belgium SMEs have a lack of clarity about local legislation regarding employment and social security obligations when it comes to expanding internationally.

This is why mid-sized organisations that are looking to thrive in 2020 need a dedicated mid-sized offering that can provide the required expertise. By choosing a one-step HR and payroll solution that can adapt to the organisation’s growing needs, they will have in place a cost-effective, compliant and scalable solution.


With wellbeing, flexibility and digitalisation a core focus for 2020 and the coming decade, it’s time for organisations to embrace a HR and payroll offering that works for them. As Josh Bersin says, “mid-market has been witnessing a surge in HR tech adoption for last 10 years – and in 2020 they want their fair share.''

To learn more about SD Worx, visit our website here.

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