Four Key Workplace Trends

Image: Four Key Workplace Trends

The Current Workplace Landscape: Perspectives, Considerations and Challenges

With an improved economy, organizations face a rise in turnover and declining employee productivity. However, there are also key opportunities in the current workplace landscape.

Here are four key trends and the opportunities and risks that these trends present for HR leaders and senior management teams.

Trends that Organizations & Human Resources Leaders Need to Consider

1. Hiring is back on

In many organizations, recruitment efforts have ramped up again. Opportunities exist for organizations to source top talent and shift the internal culture by bringing in younger employees.

The risks are that as more opportunities become available, employees become increasingly selective about where they will work and the type of work environment they desire. In particular, Gen Ys expect a highly engaging work environment that is based on challenging work, flexibility and fun.

HR leaders should examine how they can fill positions internally (to motivate and engage existing employees) before sourcing external hires. Building an internal pipeline is critical as the need for specific skills increases.

2. Demographic shifts in the workplace

With the exit of many Baby Boomers, Gen Xers now make up a larger portion of the workforce in management positions.

This is an opportunity for organizations to leverage  their leadership bench strength by tapping into the knowledge of how to drive operational efficiencies.

The risks are that Gen Xers won’t naturally fill the same roles that Baby Boomers held. They may also expect different relationships with their employers. While loyalty among Gen Xers is strong if they are learning and growing, this cohort is one that places its loyalty at the manager level, not with the organization. Gen Xers expect a more balanced work style and place more emphasis on flexibility than previous leaders, which will result in an organizational culture shift.

In addition, as employment opportunities improve, the ability to retain high performing employees  may be challenging

3. Succession planning is being leveraged

In response to demographic shifts, organizations have been more diligent in utilizing their internal assets to fill key positions. There is an increase in organizations that have ‘ready now’ candidates within their talent pool, to fill key roles.

This commitment to succession planning is a competitive strength. The opportunities exist to move Gen Xers more quickly into leadership positions and to openly communicate career opportunities, thus improving engagement, retention and communication with high performing employees. If HR leaders are transparent about the roles that need to be filled in the short to medium term, managers can have more targeted career development conversations with top talent.

The risks are that if high potential employees are not aware that they are being considered for succession planning, they may leave the organization prior to the opportunities coming to fruition. It may also be difficult to retain enough ‘ready now’ employees to ensure there is one or more employees available for all key roles.

4. Voluntary turnover is on the rise

In today’s economy, employees are quicker to leave organizations that haven’t created a win-win relationship with them.

The opportunity for HR is to examine how leaders engage their employees and invest in the necessary learning and development to ensure all people leaders are demonstrating a collaborative, win-win management style. To retain high performers, creating a mentoring program that provides access to senior leaders and is focused on their individual learning needs is critical. There is also an opportunity to recruit younger employees and develop them from within the organization in order to fill vacant positions. This ensures an injection of fresh ideas into the workforce and provides new hires with a clearer career path, resulting in an increase in engagement and retention.

The risks with higher turnover are obviously the cost to replace employees and reduced organizational performance. The challenge is in finding qualified candidates in a more competitive marketplace, especially for employers that don’t offer a highly attractive total rewards program.

In addition, organizations should consider how to enhance their existing orientation programs to ensure speed to competency for new hires can be improved, with the objective of achieving higher levels of performance and productivity faster.

Giselle Kovary

As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.

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