If you only read one 'trends of 2020' blog this month, read this one (and possibly the one about new electronic cat toys). Why? Because this will equip you for the future. We've analysed our own data and investigated the world's bleeding-edge workplaces to create a guide for the hot work topics of the 2020s. Enlightenment starts here...

Customer experience is everything

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. According to research from PWC, good customer experience is worth a 16% premium on goods and services. Consequently, investment to help your people understand and deliver good customer experience will make financial sense.  Easier experience through automation or digital process has a big impact too.  Teams should understand how customers feel and think at every stage of their interaction with you, through digital, telephone or face-to-face. Customer interaction starts when a customer first thinks about contacting you and proceeds through the whole interaction, including your advertising, marketing and social media, right through to the final resolution or product. Investing L&D budget to help your people understand the customer journey has been shown to improve how people feel about the work they do. Understanding customer journey also builds a stronger, more human connection between your people and customers. It improves engagement and job satisfaction.

Why not read our customer journey how to guide part one and part two and have a go at brining your customer journey’s to life with your team.

Your people are your customers and their experience matters

It’s not enough to turn up at work, do a job and go home.  People want great workplace experiences. They want personalised development linked to company goals. They want an experience aligned to their values through social responsibility. They want a vision they can connect with. Their work experience needs to go beyond day-to-day tasks. You can improve experience by understanding what’s important to people. For example, one element of your engagement strategy could be supporting people to be more environmentally friendly. Or you could use online social platforms to build communities, connect teams and communicate initiatives. Platforms such as Workplace and Microsoft Teams can create bonding, fun experiences. Managers and leaders are important in creating an experiential culture. Your 2020 engagement strategy should help them to discover how to put people first and create engaging and enriching environments. Our BC,LC case study illustrates how we supported O2 managers and leaders to do this.

Digital and automation is important. But..

Digitisation is useful for increasing efficiency. It can raise morale and happiness too, for example if it replaces a mundane, manual task. However, beware of buying in a digital course that relies on learning by rote, reading lists or dull webinars. Your learners won’t engage or learn. Automation can have beneficial results for customer experience too. But make sure it’s right for customers and provides what they need. If a customer needs to speak to a human but can’t because your system doesn’t offer that option, you will quickly find dissatisfied, one-off customers. Digital and automation works best when personalised elements are added, for example, when people can choose a learning journey by making their own learning playlist.  Online learning should be immersive and collaborative. It should link to people’s lives and offer solutions that help them in the real world. And importantly, make it fun by using social platforms and competition.


Gamification uses elements of gameplay, (finding things, quizzes, collaboration and competition) in non-game situations, such as workplaces. Gamification can enhance skills and knowledge subconsciously. Learning becomes a by-product, not the focus, as is then embraced. It becomes a positive experience, rather than a burdensome task. Gamification has incredible potential for learning and education. It teaches people to practice persistence, attention to detail, risk-taking and problem-solving. In 2020 L&D will no longer be viewed as an isolated activity, rather it will become a culture made relevant and personalised through gamification and digitisation.

Soft skills here to stay and vital to company growth strategy

Companies staffed by self-motivated people who can think innovatively and communicate effectively will boom.  We live in a world where knowledge is everywhere and easily attained. The ability to apply that knowledge in a creative and innovative way will make your company stand out.  Our future economy will be built on creativity and technology. As artificial intelligence replaces routine tasks, there will be opportunities for people with creative, technical and social skills, which are resilient to future automation, according to the innovation foundation, Nesta.  The most essential soft skills are:

When developing your L&D strategy for 2020, consider the trends outlined here and future-proof your organisation.