As the global economy continues to fluctuate, organizations will start seeing more drastic game-changing trends that will determine the success or failure of strategic planning in today's workplace. Obstacles such as the increased war for talent, work-life balance, and preparation for a new generation of candidates are just some of the hurdles that leaders can no longer afford to ignore. That being said, there are also great opportunities for organizations to flourish and modernize as 2016 quickly takes shape. The following trends are already evolving in the workplace and can’t be avoided.
1) Leadership gaps decrease as the boomer generations retire
Over the next year 3.6 million baby boomers are set to retire. Succession planning will be a top priority for many global organizations. As these changes take shape, the way we manage today will evolve given the mind sets of this new breed of leaders. Instead of performance reviews, organizations will need to offer more virtual learning tools for professional development as opposed to printed training methods. Positive and verbal reinforcement will be key in terms of retaining staff. This new generation will empower others and will force organizations to make an impact on society rather than strictly prioritizing the focus on money.
2) Workplace flexibility becomes the "new norm"
As many studies have shown, work-life balance is determining who is winning today's difficult war for talent. On average, employees work 47 hours per week and that number climbs drastically when you factor in access to cell phones and email during "off hours". According to a study by the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job. This is leading to a major loss in talent for those organizations that are shying away from this subject. Telecommuting, co-working spaces, and new communication technology will all help to increase efficiency in the workplace. Successful organizations will need to have a flexible working policy geared toward retaining employees and providing satisfaction.
3) Wearable technology disrupts business as usual
Industry experts project the wearable market could grow to $80 billion over the coming years. Organizations have started to see this trend already transform with products such as Apple watches and Fitbits. These devices will continue to become part of day-to-day business activities, as it will allow these generations to constantly stay connected to what is happening. Leaders will need to be more aware of this trend as it will be more acceptable in the workspace.
4) Time to get serious on office design
As work-life balance takes drastic shape, the office will become more decentralized and space will shrink drastically. Empty, unused office space is starting to become a thing of the past and will save corporations millions. As employees lean more on technology and decide to work from home, many employees may not even need to utilize their assigned office space. The new generation is leaning toward flexible work areas, distraction free environments, and quiet spaces versus past open floor plans. Leaders will have to pay close attention to this as this will be key in ensuring the happiness and success of employees.
5) Generation Z is soon upon us
Generation Z, those born in the late nineties until now, will soon be entering the workforce. This generation has been riddled with high student loans and will be very tied to the technology of today. They will seek mentors, want their employers to be as technically advanced as possible, and will want their work to impact the world. Organizations need to recognize this and make adjustments accordingly to ensure these employees get off on the right foot.
Many of these trends have already started to take shape and will continue to do so over the coming years. Organizations that identify and address these important trends will surely flourish and succeed!
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