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Top 10 workplace trends to watch in 2018

March 19, 2018

The Physics Nobel Prize Laureate Nils Bohr once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

By studying the past and tracking trends in workplace issues, employers can gain at least a glimpse into some of the trends that should shape the HR tech space in 2018. Here are 10 workplace trends to watch and prepare for in the coming year:

1. Digitizing Talent Acquisition
Enhancing employee engagement in 2018 will be one of the top goals of every employer . Finding the right talent for the job is the first step toward bringing that goal toward reality. With digitization and cloud-based hiring tools, recruiters and hiring managers can easily and affordably locate, evaluate, and organize top job candidates. Companies like SilkRoad and Youth4Work are examples of companies that utilize algorithms to filter applicants based on specific employer criteria to help select the right person for the job.

2. Leaning on Freelancers
A 2016 study conducted by Upwork and Edelman Intelligence for the Freelancers Union found that 55 million Americans (35% of the country’s entire workforce), work in a freelance capacity. This trend will only accelerate in the coming year as design, web development, customer support and accounting functions are increasingly outsourced. By hiring independent contractors, employers can adopt competitive new strategies and fill short-term positions by relying on the gig economy.

3. Working Past 65
Another trend gaining momentum is more people over 65 remaining in or re-entering the workforce. This is great news for employers wanting to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience from employees who have been there, done that, and probably even designed the t-shirts. This sector of the workforce brings a history of problem-solving and critical thinking skills acquired over decades that other age groups may still be trying to acquire.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017 . During the third quarter of 2017, 32 percent of Americans 65 to 69 were employed. Additionally, a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 44 percent of those who worked past retirement age said they continued to work by choice because they enjoy the work and want to remain active.

4. Shared Work Spaces
In the past, shared office spaces were typically utilized by young professionals, start-ups, and sole proprietors. In 2018, shared office spaces will be increasingly used by businesses seeking to attract talent. The trend of sharing office space will continue as more businesses seek frugal ways to collaborate with other businesses while building profitable relationships.

5. Live-Work Spaces
Popular today, the live-work space is typically the primary dwelling of the occupant, and this trend should continue its momentum. Due to advancing collaboration technologies, employees can get more done in a relaxed environment and will expect the workplace to complement the home life and vice versa.

6. Reliance on Artificial Intelligence
According to a study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, three-quarters of executives believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enable their companies to move into new businesses, and roughly 85% believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.

7. Use of Augmented Workforce
Augmenting the workforce is simply redesigning the workforce to incorporate synergy between humans and automation. Amazon and Intercom seem to be mastering this. Others in the future will have to find ways to keep the human element—that can provide empathy, persuasion, and personal service—working alongside AI systems and robotics.

8. Prioritizing Financial Wellness
Modern employees are sensitive about planning for their retirement years. A Charles Schwab survey reported 52% of employers say they have implemented, or are considering implementing, a financial wellness program for their employees. Next year that number will increase as employers strive to offer financial programs as an incentive to attract talent.

9. Greater Focus on the Employee Experience
A recent Deloitte Insights study found nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) but only 22 percent reported their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.

In 2018, organizations will need to improve the employee experience as a whole, using a multitude of wellness and fitness apps, pulse feedback tools, and employee self-service technologies if they want to remain competitive.

10. Reinventing Performance Reviews
The standard 90-day or annual performance review has (thankfully) become a thing of the past. Frequent and timely recognition is the new norm, where leaders conduct regular check-ins with each team member to set expectations, review priorities, comment on recent work, and provide course correction. Deloitte found the best way to assess an individuals’ performance is by soliciting their own statements describing what they would do, not what they think. Reviews should be done weekly using consumer feedback tools and online surveys of employees.

The list above shows, adopting new digital tools is an intimidating prospect, but the payoff can be massive boosting employee morale and earning you a spot on 2018’s Best Place To Work list.

By Raphael Crawford-Marks, CEO of Bonusly

Source: HR Technologist

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