The 6 Major Workplace Trends of 2018

2018 has arrived!

What does that mean for the workplace?

On one hand, 2017 was already quite remarkable (from a business perspective). Here, we’re thinking about the concern on employee engagement, the rise of the gig economy, millennials meeting generation Z at work, the use of virtual reality and more…On the other hand, 2018’s workplace is a cocktail of better skills, machines, big data, flexibility, diversity, psychology safety and more…Indeed, there is a lot in store for 2018.

Be ready.

1.Upskilling

Since years now, HR professionals and leaders have been facing a real issue: the “skills gap”. In other words, the existing void between the skills that candidates have and the skills that employers are looking for. It’s the business challenge of our time. Indeed, it seems that the talents we have now don’t match up with the ones we actually need. This is undoubtedly slowing down the economy’s growth as companies can’t find the right employees, with the right skills, at the right time.

Take a guess… It’s a big problem in the workplace.

In 2018, it is time to bridge this existing gap. Here are different ways in which bridging the gap will be possible:

1. Creating an internal skills program

There’s no doubt that you can’t learn everything at a university. Chances are when you arrive at your first job after graduation, there’s still a lack of necessary skills. Businesses should provide platforms where employees can have access to any help they need, in function of the job title. Seems basic, but it hasn’t really been established anywhere yet…

2.Building relationships w/ universities

Put simply, the education systems out there are obviously not providing the skills young people need to get the jobs they desire. In result, it would be useful to consider getting in touch with universities so that the confusion ceases and that students get the right skills in order to succeed in their career. How long have we been seeing unemployed undergraduates?

3.Making good use of the vast amount of online courses

Looking at the vast number of online courses we have at our fingertips today, it should be easier to gain more knowledge and to enhance skills. Individuals should be encouraged to use these resources to their advantage. Chances are, the latest and greatest skills they will need to perfect their job in X industry will already be presented as a course on online programs.  What are the excuses then?

These are simple but effective changes that organizations should start to implement this year. In consequence of this gap, in 2018, employers will be investing more into training and development programs to ensure finding a solution.

2.AI’s omnipresence will help humans – not replace them

It’s evident to delve into the impact Artificial Intelligence will increasingly have in 2018’s businesses. In 2017, AI already has had enormous effects. Although, instead of treating AI as an enemy, everyone should shift their opinions and start treating AI as an assistant – especially this year. AI will (hopefully) not yet replace humans but rather help them. But how exactly?

1. AI helps managers strategically

Did you know that managers spend 54% of their time working on administrative tasks?
Well, this is about to change. Simply because AI will be taking care of all the dull, time-consuming administrative tasks which will then help managers to focus on what matters most to them and their strategies.

2.AI increases productivity

You’ve probably noticed the countless amounts of websites that use AI-enabled conversations known as ‘chatbots’. They come in handy when you require help to complete complex tasks – in fact, most workers agree they find it useful and convenient in their day-to-day tasks. “It is from this perspective, where business planners from IT and all lines of business, have to start when looking specifically at how to implement AI, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and chatbots, to enhance conversational engagement and rich interactions,” says Dave Smith, a contributor on CIO.

And as mentioned just previously, since we will be leaving the long, boring administrative tasks to the machines, we will be left with more productivity focused on what only us humans can do. We will redefine our priorities.

3.AI boosts employee engagement

Employee engagement is perhaps the second most important workplace challenge of our time. Now, artificial intelligence has incredible abilities to deliver fun, engaging and interactive experiences to employees (such as gamification) but that doesn’t mean it will solve the crisis. While speaking of employee engagement, other things should be considered.

Otherwise, in the long run, AI will create more demand for candidates with artificial intelligence skills. Considering the gap skills that we are trying to bridge, this may be good news.

This year, we will really feel the impact of AI. The future is here and whether you like it or not, you will feel that AI is part of it. As you’ve just read, artificial intelligence will improve your experiences rather than worsen them.

3. Big data (Talent Analytics)

With Artificial Intelligence comes big data. With big data comes analytics. With analytics comes better candidates.

Big data is defined as “a storehouse of information that can be turned into actionable insight; whether it’s collecting performance statistics or analysing the skills and attributes of high performers.” Now, because it’s so ‘Big’, it comprises of two types of data:
unstructured and multi-structured data. Unstructured data is pretty much unorganized, heavy data (yes, that includes your embarrassing Facebook posts from 2007). Multi-structured data is a combination of different types of data (also includes social media platforms).

Feeling bored yet?

It’s getting more interesting.

Now that we’ve established what big data pretty much consists of, we can now discuss what big things we can do with it. Big data is most effective when used in talent analytics. Talent analytics is defined as “the practical application of big data techniques to human resources, taking into account the data of past, current, and potential employees to produce insight.”

The magic it brings?

It helps to spot the perfect candidate.

As explained previously, as we are still facing a major skills gap, take a guess… Talent analytics has the power to revolutionise our ways of recruiting and finding the right individuals.

In 2018, HR managers will increasingly understand the impact and effect of talent analytics and will realize that it has the power to completely change their function as well as their ways of thinking. Talent analytics will result in more qualified teams and better insights in the workplace.

Speaking of talents… Did you know you can even play against a Robot Recruiter and see if you have what it takes to land your dream job?

4.A more remote and flexible workforce

In 2018, we’re going to see more and more people working remotely.

This means that workers will be virtually performing their tasks from anywhere, be it in a coffee shop, in their flat, at the beach…Thanks to technology, it’s evidently easy to keep track of what’s going on at your office while you’re not there. But, as for everything, with remote work comes pros and cons.

On a positive side, it lets employees have more freedom; it brings minimal to zero costs; and simply, flexibility. On a more negative side, working remotely can cause miscommunication or even a lack of trust on whether the employee is performing tasks appropriately.

The thing is, it seems that flexibility is becoming the number one reason people are attracted to a company/job/workplace. Millennials, for example, are more than just aware of the simplicity of today’s communication – in result, they consider it normal to be working remotely nowadays. As Adam Kingl, Director of London School of Business affirmed, “working remotely is a criterion that people are expressly looking for before they’ll sign on the dotted line.” A good example of businesses that are already implementing remote work possibilities are startups. The reason behind is because startups may be keener on the idea as it means using efficient productivity ways at a lower or even non-existent cost.

A recent study from Staples in the US confirms that remote work is now definitely a thing. In 2017, only 32% of employees spent all their time working at their office, and 43% of employees say remote work is a must-have.

So, here’s to working anywhere you wish.

5.Mixed Generational Management

Finally, it seems that diversity is taken more seriously in the workplace. When I say diversity, I think about generational, racial and even gender diversity – but let’s not go into that just yet.

In an era where leaders will be managing 4+ generations all at once (by 2020), it will become tougher to manage a team. Generational tensions can arise easily between colleagues – but it’s the manager’s job to recognize that a combination of generations brings a combination of distinctive skills and opportunities. So that’s positive.

As baby boomers will retire over the next 2 decades, more and more millennials will enter the workforce. In fact, they will make 50% of the global workforce by 2020. They are usually stereotyped and don’t always have a good reputation. But workers need to start tolerating them – as another younger generation is coming to work: Generation Z. This generation, born between 1996 and 2010, is only just entering the workforce. They have a lot in common with their friends the Millennials, however still have distinctive values.

To start with, Generation Z is a “pragmatic generation” compared to Millennials who are more idealistic. Additionally, as Gen Zers have always known a connected world, they are even more apt than Millennials to multi-task: as they’ve always been used to switch between apps and online platforms… As a contributor on Forbes expressed, “Switching between different tasks and paying simultaneous attention to a wide range of stimuli comes naturally to them.” Otherwise, Millennials seem to be keener in learning more, as they are driven by challenges. “100% of Millennials will stay in a company as long as they are learning. That’s the fundamental component”, says Becky Thomas, Next Generation Coach.

Whether Millennials or Gen Z will bring better work ethics, in 2018, managers will have to start adapting to the modernized values their new employees will bring.

6.Mental wellness

In 2018, mental wellness is really becoming an important concern.  In fact, speaking of Millennials again, they are the ones who seek psychological safety the most. Shockingly, 1 in 5 millennials are depressed at work. In result, many of them are raising awareness– as it appears that mental health is still too overlooked in society. Particularly, this year, Millennials may take more time off work to ensure they have a stable and healthy work/life balance – as it remains one of the most important factors for them.

How so?

Because having a healthy work/life balance means having more time for mindfulness. Mindfulness is practiced through meditation – or concentrating on the “now” rather than the past or the future. Mindfulness is about self-awareness, being able to focus on one moment and to practice gratitude. And as the effects are so positive, it’s becoming more and more of a trend every day.

That being said, the “trend” of mindfulness isn’t only targeted to Millennials; everyone, no matter the generation, should start implementing mindful exercises into their daily routines. If every single person did, the world would be a better place!

This emphasis on mental health will push leaders and organizations to shift their mindsets and frames of thinking. Perhaps, the workplace will become more “humane” and will encourage more human interaction. In any case, it is apparent that change needs to be done. In this digital era, it’s too easy to think about what’s happening inside our phones rather than what’s happening inside our heads.


(Speaking of not thinking what’s happening inside our heads…)

More seriously, one quote from Sarah Landrum sums it up perfectly: “Once we establish that depression is a disease with real-world consequences, we need to grapple with the factors that exacerbate it. We need to, at the risk of sounding grandiose or self-important, almost fundamentally rethink the business world we’ve created, and what we want it to look like for future generations.”

It’s time to take action.

To conclude, as you have read, the workplace is changing more rapidly than ever.  Between finding a solution to fill the skills gap, having robots assisting humans, finding better talents, tolerating generational diversity, implementing flexibility and emphasizing on mental wellness, there is a lot of positive changes coming. Here’s to a great year in the workplace! 😀

 

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