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WORKPLACE TRENDS FOR 2019

Every year brings unique and sometimes quirky new workplace initiatives. Here are just some of the new workplace trends set to hit in 2019.

From welcoming a new generation into the workforce to understanding how your company collects data about you, these are the 5 biggest workplace trends that you’ll see during 2019:

1. Gen Z is joining your workforce
Gen Z is rapidly joining the workforce with the oldest members of the generation being 23 years-old. They’re expected to comprise up to 36 percent of the global workforce by 2020, and companies are adapting their people strategies to ensure that they can attract and retain young talent. These new entrants are digital natives who expect strategic use of software and technology in the workplace, as they are the first generation to grow up entirely in an internet-centric society.

Even if you’re not a member of Gen Z, you’ll start seeing software strategies, solutions and training trickling into your workplace because if your organisation doesn’t offer them, Gen Z will find an employer that will. The flipside of their technological competence will be a decrease in soft skills such as professional written communication, and an emphasis or preference for in person meetings versus electronic. As a teammate you can help their transition into the workforce by making sure that you listen to their ideas and being transparent with them from day one. Being aware of Gen Z’s idiosyncrasies can assist you in integrating them into your existing team more quickly and efficiently, and help ensure your workplace is the right fit for everyone.

2. Your 100-year life span
In addition to focusing on young employees joining the workforce, a similar emphasis is being put on shifting career and life paths across all generations. In developed nations with more access to effective healthcare, more and more people are reaching their 100th birthday, meaning that careers will be longer than we’ve ever seen before. Companies and their employees are planning for rising retirement ages by reviewing the role of pensions, benefits and physical or schedule accommodations for older and more senior employees.

If you are looking for career growth, consider asking your manager about moving horizontally across your organisation instead of just aiming for the traditionally vertical promotion. With people changing careers and jobs more frequently throughout their longer life spans, companies are preparing for a more dynamic workforce with workers looking to continually expand their skill-sets cross-functionally. Diversifying your CV and skill-set will allow you to contribute to your business, while also giving you increased job security and flexibility across what could be a very long career.

3. Be better than good
As a lot of tech and retail giants have seen recently, doing good isn’t good enough. With a tumultuous global political climate, and governments that respond to crises at the pace of moving glaciers with little accountability it is up to business leaders to pick up the slack and as such, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more important than ever. Societal expectations and employee demands are becoming the rules by which companies must now operate, and they must be willing and ready to respond to these new demands.

Companies are increasingly working to align their mission, vision, and values with those of their employees. However, 56 percent of organisations don’t have CSR as a priority and you have the voice and ability to be a part of bridging that gap. If your company doesn’t have any CSR programs in place, consider suggesting a potential CSR initiative. CSR comes in many forms including providing liveable wages, supporting environmental sustainability initiatives, facilitating community programs, charitable donations, volunteering, or getting a certification of social responsibility.

4. Prepare for the rise of the gig economy
It’s no secret that the gig economy – comprised of individual contract or project work – is on the rise at the same time as many companies are seeing increased turnover. You may have seen the effects in your own workplace. Employee engagement is low globally, and in addition, younger employees indicate that they are significantly more likely to leave their organisation within five years than to stay beyond five years. Because of these factors, businesses are now moving away from trying to keep employees around longer and are instead reducing costs associated with turnover and embracing the gig economy. It is particularly prominent in industries that have changing labour demands for different projects – one project may need 15 people while another may need 150.

While the flexibility and control offered by contract or gig work can seem appealing, it is important to be aware of the limitations and challenges it represents versus full-time employment. Contract workers often don’t receive health benefits and generally have less job security which may necessitate a shift in the way that the workforce approaches employment decisions.

5. All about you (and your data)
Consumer data has been a hot-button issue as businesses use it to inform their decisions, but companies are now starting to gather more employee data for similar purposes. Employee data has historically been used to inform people strategies such as recruitment, retention, performance management and training. With more tech and social media in the workplace, employers have a greater ability to collect and evaluate employee behaviours. Some companies are analysing communication patterns on internal messaging systems, tracking geographical locations, and giving their employees health trackers to collect health data.

Health tracking in particular is expected to see significant growth as smart watches with health tracking functionality like the Apple Watch are now being included in employee wellness plans.

As an employee it is advisable to be aware of what data your employer is gathering and what they’re using it for. Collecting data without compromising employee trust is imperative, and businesses must be transparent about what they are collecting and using your data for. It may be a cause for concern if they are not communicating the strategies and initiatives that justify their data collection. Most often there is no cause for alarm, but it is important for employees to be educated and informed regarding data collection, just as they would in their personal lives.

As the workplace continues to evolve to meet rapidly shifting demands, it increasingly falls on employees to be self-advocates and educators to avoid being left behind. Continuously expand your skill-set, stay open-minded to new individuals and experiences, and understand how you fit into the future of your workplace to remain competitive as we move into 2019 and beyond.

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