What trends are emerging in the governance space today? What should Boards be on the lookout for as we head into the new year? 2022 has been a year of major changes for all of us across the industry as organisations adapted to deal with global challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change. 2023 is looking to continue in this vein, requiring major flexibility on the part of organisations.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the major ongoing trends to watch out for in the coming year.
- Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)
- Meaningful corporate purpose
- Cyber (tech and security)
- Machine learning and AI in the workplace
- Increasing digitisation and transformative advances in technology
- Data mining
- Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
- Remote and hybrid workplaces
- Privacy and cybersecurity/ cybercrime
- Transformation of finances
- Reporting (GRI, ISSB, GSSB, etc.)
- Fintech (AI, Blockchain, Cloud computing, big data)
- Orghealth and Board culture
To touch on a few of these trends in greater detail, let us examine:
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG): the new gold standard
This is the new foundation of governance. As consumers become increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability efforts, corporations should take care to reflect these growing concerns. Change may begin with independent action and decarbonisation efforts, but true frontrunners in this field will look beyond the obvious to make long-lasting, impactful changes to their environmental footprint.
Irrespective of the demands of conscious consumerism, corporations should be aware by now that continuing to function in an unsustainable, environmentally-hostile way will not only ultimately lead to their demise but accelerate the destruction of our planet. Much must be done to salvage what we can from the effects of climate change, and our window for action is closing fast. This is a key area in which Boards can distinguish themselves as global leaders through proactive resilience and realistic, impactful sustainability efforts.
When robots rule the world…
The fact that we rely increasingly on automation and technology in the governance sector is hardly news. As technological advances continue to increase, many organisations are incorporating robotic technology and AI into their operations. No longer the stuff of sci-fi novels, these advances help increase company efficiency and productivity and can be highly cost-effective as well.
As the fields of machine learning, AI and transformative technologies (notably bio-, info-, nano- and cogno-) continue to grow, we expect this trend to continue strong into 2023. Revenue is fast increasing in this field, and the predicted top use cases for AI include artificial intelligence, knowledge management, autonomous vehicles and digital workplaces. Hand-in-hand with this technological increase, companies should keep an eye on the health of their organisation. Increased technological incorporation can result in psychological impacts for employees, a phenomenon that can be counteracted through awareness and increased employee support.
Flexible employment and the death of the 9-to-5
By the end of 2022, we have already seen huge changes in how we work. From the rapid increase of remote and hybrid work brought on by the pandemic to the increasing appeal of freelance work and the gig economy, a break from the traditional framework of the workday is expected to hold true globally through 2023.