Workplace Trends for 2017

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The Evolving Nature of the Workplace

Communities and societies are made of people, and as the population changes the society goes with it. This applies to both the macro and micro scale for employment, as changes are growing for individuals and industries alike. Keeping ahead of those trends means watching for signs and being aware of the changes. Each are gradual, yet fundamental alterations to what used to be accepted. Gone are the days of wearing an expensive suit and dedicating 8 to 14 hours a day at your job. The workplace is incorporating new technologies to make things better, and now both Millennials and Generation Z have begun to truly take over. The different ideals and the inclusion of technology are reshaping the idea of what it takes to be successful as a business.

Technological Advancements

Businesses need to be aware of the massive changes in technology. For instance, sites like glassdoor.com provide a way for employees and job seekers to speak about experiences. Regardless of what a company does, technology can provide insight into their practices in both positive and negative ways. As younger generations incorporate into workplaces, the trends in technology become more prevalent. For instance, the hype of virtual reality is beginning to take hold. The use of technology to create virtual spaces, or even use cameras to create augmented reality may reshape what a traditional office might appear as. Cubicles can be replaced with headsets, or notes can be passed virtually to cut down on paper without being glued to a screen. Approximately a quarter of both Millennials and Generation Z are actively trying to incorporate virtual reality or augmented reality into the workplace.

Will of the Worker

What once was a unified force of workers for a company has begun to change. The rise of freelance workers in the workplace has provided a level of flexibility that few foresaw. This trend of using freelancers allows for unique skill sets to be easily made for projects or groups. This also can benefit staffing companies like Axians redtoo, who rather than run a specific business provide skilled workers to companies. This reduces costs for a company as they no longer need an HR department. Staffing companies are similar to independent HR departments, handling all such issues and allowing companies to concentrate on other matters. This has created a new battleground for businesses in the fight for talented workers. This freedom has inspired an evolution in contracts between employers and employees. Businesses have been forced to understand that they no longer have anything resembling a lifetime employment contract with workers. Up to 76% of the workforce is actively looking for better opportunities, and nearly half of employers are unable to fill job openings because of skill gaps or high attrition rates. Worse yet, 90% of employers foresee increased competition for talent. Employees are not nearly as disposable or assumed loyal as once considered.

Another change is in performance reviews. In the past, annual reviews were common, but the younger generations of workers are more proactive. Rather than a year, they prefer far more frequent reminders and adjustments. Daily, weekly, or just regular reviews provide accurate feedback. The ideology of “we cannot fix what we don’t know” prevails, and for a business it means having responsive members that correct mistakes far faster and with less lag in performance. Much of this comes from the instant gratification culture of both Millennials and Gen Z. With a third or more the former now in managerial positions, they are now the ones in charge. The rebellion against the Baby Boomers has come full circle as Gen Z are the newcomers.

Paradigm Shift in the Workplace

It has long been understood that management styles can radically change how workers perform. A good manager can inspire a team, while a bad one can drive employees to quit. In the near future, many HR departments will begin to alter their thinking. The same efforts that had been put toward customers by combining HR, marketing, and service will start to turn inward. Creating a positive experience in all aspects for the employee can greatly benefit the company. For instance, job seekers who do not have a good experience tend not to try again. This limits the skills a job can pull from in the future. The vast majority of businesses see employee experience as important or even vital. Half of businesses talked to said they would invest more in training, improving work space, and giving rewards in each category. This works equally well for both new employees and existing workforce. Many companies realize that workplace stress is the biggest health issue, and are creating more relaxed and healthier environments for them. This creates a more enticing workplace for those coming in, and combats health issues and absenteeism among current workers.

Previous workplace ideology was to emphasize the worker. Individual success or failure was the measure for a business, promoting those that work well and dealing with poor performers. However, the changes have begun to see a different approach in more team-focused performance. Nearly all companies rate “organizational design” as a top priority, with most members of both Millennials and Gen Z emphasizing working well in a team. Companies are embracing the idea of cohesive teams getting higher quality work done. Referring to it as “Team Space,” Cisco is embracing the concept with a platform that delivers intelligence on how teams can succeed together.

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