18 February 2020

*These* are the trends shaping the 2020 workplace

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How will the workplace continue evolving through 2020? What are the demands of employees, and what motivates them? There are plenty of articles making predictions, but what is one voice compared to many? We rounded up some of the workplace and human resources trends predicted to take over in 2020, and brought them to the experts to get their take. Which experts? Why, the A-team, of course.

The following 2020 Workplace trends have been evaluated by the team here at Ariad. As recruiters, business managers, marketing and HR specialists, we’re working every day with companies and candidates, learning about the changing needs of each. We asked the team to rate each trend from 1 to 5, 1 suggesting that the prediction was way off, and 5 meaning they wholeheartedly agree. Read on to find our scores and comments!

(Want to see it all in one report? Download the full 2020 Workplace Trend Review and read at your own convenience.)

Trend #1: AI on the rise

The predicted trend: AI incorporated into the workplace

AI will be your new coworker, and possibly even your new manager as more AI is used to coach and monitor workers.

What the A-team says: Not yet

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 suggesting that the prediction was way off, and 5 meaning they wholeheartedly agree, the Ariad approval came in at a score of 2.67. This is just slightly below a neutral feeling, showing that there is some doubt--we’re interested for sure, but far from convinced.

There are already examples of AI taking over management-type tasks, like leveraging big data to give real-time advice to customer service representatives or sales teams. Cogito is one such AI tool that uses data and behavioral science to allow humans to give better support by phone. It monitors the calls and gives live feedback, like telling the employee to slow down if they are speaking too quickly, or notes when there is voice overlap and reminds the employee to let the customer finish their sentence.

(Want to read about all the trends in one report? Download the full 2020 Workplace Trend Review for our experts' take on 4 different trend predictions.)

Other AI tools can be used to help internal communication, improve onboarding, or track performance. For example, LaborWise from Deloitte claims to give more visibility into the potential of your workforce and identify impediments, overspending, and where resources are lacking--a job that is traditionally the responsibility of management and directors, though never an easy one.

That said, there are a lot of limitations, including a high potential for bias, as with many modern developments in technology. And of course, we have to question the EQ of AI. Ariad’s Senior UX Recruitment Consultant Javier Cuadra explains “An essential quality for coaching is to be empathetic, to have a compassionate leadership attitude towards the person you're dealing with. Thus, we have to wait until we invent Artificial Intelligent Feeling Robots”.

“An essential quality for coaching is to be empathetic, to have a compassionate leadership attitude towards the person you're dealing with."

Javier Cuadra, Senior UX Recruitment Consultant at Ariad

Says Alaina Ferretti, Content Marketing Specialist, “it’s cool but creepy to think about at the same time. While quality data can definitely remove a lot of uncertainty from a wide range of interactions, at this point using data predictors to personalize simply isn’t personal enough. AI coaching can help at a very basic level, but (at least right now) could never replace actual human experience, truly compassionate coaching, and empathy.”

“It has a lot of potential. Will it become mainstream in 2020 for all companies? Probably not. But it's development and implementation is moving fast,” shares another A-team member. For now, it is much more likely that this technology will be used to help out a team, rather than replace one, and we doubt it will be considered commonplace in 2020.

Expert insight into more trends

To find out our experts’ opinions of three other top workplace and HR predictions for 2020, along with the trends they think will be even more important, download our 2020 Workplace Trend Review. You’ll get insights into where employment standards may be headed, as told by the ones helping to build it.