The year 2016 is widely expected to be an exciting in the US workplace. As many organizations finally enter a post—recession boom, more resources will be available to invest in their human capital. This will inevitably lead to competition for top talent – especially as organizations strive to replace knowledge, skills and experience gap left by the large number of retiring boomers.
However, as the baby boomers leave the workplace, a new generation will enter it for the first—time ever. When combined with new technologies expected to be adopted in the workplace, the entire atmosphere will be one of dynamism, excitement and change. Generally speaking, the top 2016 workplace trends to observe are the following.
Workplace Flexibility Becomes the Norm
Over the last few years, organizations have been experimenting with workplace flexibility. The year 2016 is when flexibility will finally take root. There are two major reasons for this.
The first is the rise of Millennials (Generation Y) in the workplace. In March 2015, Millennials overtook Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the US workplace. In 2016, more Millennials are expected to step—up into positions of leadership.
The defining characteristic of Millennials is that they expect work—life balance to be provided by their employers. One way organizations have been offering them this is through flexibility. As more Millennials step into positions of leadership, they will no doubt introduce policies to provide more workplace flexibility.
The second reason is the emergence of self—service technologies which will make it simpler to work remotely. You can read more about these technologies below. The bottom line is that in 2016, technologies will make workplace flexibility easy and cost—effective to implement. As such, in most organizations, flexibility will become the norm.
Unique Benefits As Competition for Talent Heats Up
The year 2016 is widely expected to see a hiring boom. According to a LaSalle survey, 87% of organizations expect to hire in the next year. This will definitely lead to competition for talent. The stiffest competition will be for high—end talent.
As organizations seek a competitive advantage in the recruitment market, many will inevitably turn to employee benefits. However, to truly stand out, organizations are will experiment with unique types of benefits.
Some of these new benefits forms include repayment of student loans, offering unlimited vacations, paid paternal leave, Medicare support for aging parents, retirement assistance and childcare support.
Generally, organizations will attempt to make themselves more appealing by offering employees benefits at different stages in their lives. This will definitely make sense, given that in 2016, for the first time ever, the US workplace will see up to four generations working side—by—side (i.e. Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z).
Generation Z Arrives In The Workplace
In 2016, the first of Generation Z (aka iGen or Post—Millennials) will enter the US workplace. This will likely be a source of both excitement and consternation. The iGen’s dynamic, entrepreneurial and tech—savvy nature will definitely be appreciated in the workplace. Organizations will benefit from their tech—savvy, given the new technologies which will likely arrive in the workplace.
However, many HRs will face view the arrival of the iGen will a little consternation. First of all, many do not yet know how to best manage, motivate and compensate iGen employees. Almost all the theories out there are largely speculative. As such, it will be quite on—the—job learning for most managers.
Secondly, the arrival of a new generation will almost certainly raise issues of organizational culture. Given that the iGen will make it four generations working side—by—side, creating a culture which suits all generations won’t be one easy task. Basically, the arrival of Generation Z will mean that HRs will have to earn their pay.
Self—Service Technologies Unburden Managers
In 2016, the technology trend will be focus on giving workers more control and autonomy. On the one hand, this will result from the consumerization of HR technologies which has been unfolding over the past few years. Rather than being designed for managers, most HRMIS are now designed to simplify collaboration, scheduling and coordination among workers.
On the other hand, this will result from emergence of new self—service technologies. This includes mobile—based systems and intelligent technologies which are designed to take more ownership of their schedules and tasks. Such systems are intended to make it easier for workers to work remotely, with minimum supervision.
As organizations adopt these technologies, their managers will be among the unexpected beneficiaries. As more workers take greater charge of their tasks and schedules, the need for supervision will be reduced. By simplifying coordination and remote work, the technologies will make workplace flexibility more cost—effective.
Annual Performance Reviews Become Obsolete
Over the last few years, the annual performance review has been slowly losing its place in organizations. Most employers and managers have accepted that waiting for a full year in order to give someone feedback on their performance just isn’t effective.
In 2016, the annual performance review will likely become obsolete. There are three major reasons for this. For starters, as Baby Boomers continue to leave the workplace, others will have to step into their shoes. These people will require continuous coaching, training and development. Constant feedback will be a central part of this. As such, waiting up to the end of the year to offer feedback won’t be practical.
Secondly, many organizations are expected to hire part—time, temporary or contract workers in 2016. For these kinds of workers, annual reviews won’t work, since most will work for less than a year. Finally, many experts reveal that iGen expect instant feedback or criticism on their performance. As such, their arrival in the workplace will force organizations to rethink their annual reviews.
The bottom line is that in 2016, annual performance reviews are likely to become a relic of the past. Most organizations and managers will adopt regular and less formal review mechanisms where they will offer feedback on performance on a continuous basis.
In a nutshell, those are the top 2016 workplace trends which organizations, managers and employees will have to contend with. On the whole, the year is widely expected to be a positive one for all parties within the US workplace.
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