New LACE Partners' survey results: Big trends & tech in 2018

As UNLEASH America kicks off this week, we are sharing our survey results from UNLEASH UK earlier this year. The LACE Research team asked 250 people who attended UNLEASH UK about their predictions for big trends in UK business and about the technology they are using. Over half of the respondents were in senior leadership roles.

The top trend, mentioned by nearly 26% of people, was artificial intelligence (AI). It’s difficult to miss the mentions of AI everywhere we look. This is a wide topic including all intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to human intelligence.

The survey results showed a big shift in the technology that people are using both at home and at work. Last year, only 12% of people were using virtual reality (VR). This has increased to 76% in 2018. In fact, this year 50% of people have used augmented reality both at work and at home. A smaller number (15%) have used mixed reality but mainly at work.

With augmented reality (AR) now becoming an everyday part of many people’s working lives, particularly those working in engineering, AR allows for better learning than ever before. Why? Because the human mind processes technical information, presented in a 3D format, faster and more efficiently than having to translate it from a 2D perspective. VR is likewise becoming increasingly mainstream, with many A&E doctors having trained for surgery using VR systems, in order to replicate the real life feel of trauma scenarios before having to undertake the real-life version.

Augmented or mixed reality v2

The expansion of these technologies into other industries is now rapidly including the use of VR and AR for presentations, on-boarding new employees with virtual tours round buildings and talks from the CEO, sales pitches and recruitment. The growth of this industry is only set to rise.

At the same time, ethics within AI is fast becoming a hot topic and one for which LACE pride themselves on being ahead of the curve. We believe this is a major challenge soon to face the industry, with AI algorithms now being created to think in a more ‘human’ way through deductive reasoning, plus an increased awareness of the underlying bias within machine learning (until recently this had been considered by many to be objective).

The other trends mentioned by a few people (just over 5% each) were Brexit and wellbeing or wellness.

Brexit clearly presents people challenges in terms of access to talent, skills shortages, finding alternative resourcing routes and, more generally, the role of HR. Kevin Green, a member of the LACE Partners Advisory Board commented,

“In an already tight labour market where we are close to full employment, businesses are struggling with labour, skill and talent shortages. The Brexit outcome and the current clampdown on immigration means less people are coming to work in the UK, and those already here, are leaving in increasing numbers. EU citizens currently working in the UK number 2.3 million or 7% of the workforce. This trend will turn the current shortages into a fully blown crisis.”

We also asked people whether they have a wellbeing initiative in their business.

Wellbeing in the workplace v2

As many as 66% said they do but these tend to be more traditional approaches such as gym memberships, healthcare, health testing, yoga and team exercise. In partnership we have developed flow2thrive, an approach to help organisations review and develop their wellbeing offering. This includes taking a planned and results-led perspective, to deliver the right environment with innovative solutions and support so people and organisations can be at their best.

We believe there is an opportunity to take wellbeing to another level and we are working with partners to help our clients do just that.