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Your Employee Experience Roundup: Virtual Assistants, The Rise of Gen Z Workers, and Automation for HR

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Every month, we provide a roundup of the top news stories and emerging trends related to the employee experience, digital transformation, and the future of work.
blog  your employee experience roundup  virtual assistants the rise of gen z workers and automation for hr

Every month, we provide a roundup of the top news stories and emerging trends related to the employee experience, digital transformation, and the future of work. (If you missed it, read the Top 10 Employee Experience Strategy Trends in December now.) This month’s topics include virtual assistants, the impact of introducing Gen Z employees into the workplace, and more.


#1: Forbes predicts five workplace improvements in 2019.

  1. More inclusion of women, LGBTQ, and people of color in hiring practices.
  2. Company policies that will align with worker preferences (including flexible schedules and options for working remotely).
  3. Finding new, better ways to help employees connect via digital internal communications. 
  4. Enhancing the use of online sources for learning and development.
  5. Changing hiring practices and developing better work experiences to retain more workers.  

#2: Gartner says the use of virtual assistants in the workplace is on the rise.

According to Gartner analysts,  25% of digital workers will use virtual employee assistants by 2021. By 2023, 25% of application-based interactions will be via employee voice commands, increasing from three percent in 2019. Analysts expect consumers to spend $3.5 billion on VPA speakers by 2021. (Check out a recap of our interview with Gartner Research VP Mike Gotta, in which we discuss digital transformation.)

#3: CNBC summarizes some key workplace trends to watch in 2019.

  1. Increased use of data analytics to track workers,
  2. Employers embracing social missions to attract and retain more employees,
  3. An increase in the number of years senior managers work before retirement. An influx of Gen Z employees, who will introduce new levels of technological competence into workplaces (also: expect a dip in “soft skills”).  

#4: Brand leadership expert Denise Lee Yohn identifies the top companies that prioritized the employee experience in 2018 (and also calls out some fails …).

Examples of firms that set trends include Starbucks, Hilton Hotels, and IBM. Starbucks took all its employees through anti-bias training after an incident at one of their outlets. Hilton upgraded its employee areas to include locker rooms and cafeterias, and IBM introduced digital training and development programs. On the other hand, companies that had negative employee experiences include McDonald’s and United Airlines.

#5: AI will transform the workplace experience by making processes more efficient and personalized, according to a PwC study.

The results will include more satisfied employees and customers. Adoption of AI can transform GDP potential and productivity of the global economy by 26% by 2030. This is because AI handles mundane tasks and relieves humans to cater for higher level tasks that directly affect growth and productivity.

#6: Vox reports the adoption of AI will directly impact labor demand in the corporate sectors.

Labor demand will decrease in fields such as media telecom and tech. Based on a McKinsey survey, investment in AI can increase employment for some companies, depending whether or not the companies choose to adopt current functional forms of AI innovation or for pure automation.

#7: According to CMO Brian Anderson, performance and productivity are the main objectives of digital initiatives in the workplace, including integrated internal communications.

In the adoption of such initiatives, both employees and the leadership of the company should be involved. As such, flexible policies and smart planning can help firms reduce their overall expenses by embracing digital transformation.

#8: Inc. outlines the top seven trends that have been set by Generation Z.

As Gen Z employees enter the workforce, they bring along new expectations, behaviors, and preferences; as a group,  they’re generally technology-proficient and hyper-connected. Some of their expectations and preferences include frequent feedback, Millennials as their managers, high levels of diversity and inclusion, and video (specifically YouTube) being leveraged as part of recruitment.

#9: HR is adopting more automation.  

This makes it important to optimize the combination of automated and human work. Examples of trends in enhancing future of work include the creation of new jobs using AI, growth in demand for unique human skills, developing an AI-ready workforce to gain a competitive advantage, and the use of virtual reality in corporate training and development. (Read seven areas in which HR is driving digital transformations.)

#10: Gallup calls employees the “consumers of the workplace.”

As you set policies and adopt new initiatives, remember employees today assess jobs the same way they evaluate different products. With this in mind, companies should strive to enhance the experience for employees (tip: start by reevaluating your internal communications strategy).

Missed the latest digital employee engagement trends? Read Top 10 Employee Experience Strategy Trends In December now.

And we have a new webinar, Why the Way Work Isn’t Working, with UC Berkeley neuroscientists, Dr. Sahar Yousef and Lucas Miller. Register today.


Related Stories:

Why Internal Communications Is At The Center Of Digital Transformation

Serving Up Culture And Communications To Frontline Employees

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Charong Chow

Charong Chow

Charong leads content strategy at SocialChorus. After film experiments, gallery shows, and a novel, she took the plunge into content marketing for tech startups. When Charong is not weaving narratives, she curates a small zoo that her two children have somehow managed to assemble.

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