As 2016 begins to wind down, executives are starting to reflect on the progress of the past year and look forward to upcoming workforce management changes. 2017 will be a milestone year for many reasons. Political shifts will bring uncertainty and potential regulation changes that could change the way we operate our businesses. Talent management will continue to be a priority as engaging and retaining our employees becomes evermore critical to success. As always, new obstacles and challenges will present themselves as the year progresses, requiring organizations to maintain agility.
While there are many uncertainties about what 2017 may bring for businesses, there are some workforce management changes we can expect.
Benefits will get better
Today’s employees have begun to expect more out of their jobs than the typical benefit plan offers. With some healthcare structures hanging in the balance, we can expect organizations to begin to get creative with the benefits that they offer their employees. Studies show that millennial workers actually value benefits such as Training & Development and flexible working hours more than healthcare and retirement plans. Beyond the traditional benefits, organizations in 2017 will likely begin investing in workplace environment and culture, engaging employees with enjoyable workspaces and encouraging work-life balance as a strategy to create an exceptional employee experience. Some organizations have even begun Student Loan Repayment plans as a benefit specifically catered to the younger, debt-laden generations.
The workforce will continue to diversify
2017 will mark the first full year that Gen Z will be active in the job market. This adds a unique element to an already diverse workplace that has become a melting pot of generational differences. As the new generation enters the workforce, millennials continue to rise in the ranks. HBR reports that approximately 36% of millennials now hold a managerial position or higher. This number is likely to rise as more than 3.6 million company chiefs are expected to retire this year. Many organizations will struggle to find qualified talent to replace their key executives as the exodus of the Baby Boomers continues. We can expect to see the initial affects of millennial leadership ripple throughout organizations in 2017 and beyond.
Teamwork will rise above individual performance
2017 will see the importance of team performance eclipse individual contributions as departmental walls are torn down to encourage collaboration. Previously, there has been a movement toward specialization in the workplace. Employees are always eager to hone their own unique skills and increase the efficiency of their specific business function with technological tools. However, as organizational processes become more complex, silos have been constructed around departments and systems. Many organizations are now realizing that the removal of silos can streamline collaboration and information sharing to increase productivity holistically. In 2017, more organizations will begin adopting the Silicon Valley strategy of creating cross-functional and cross-departmental teams to address bold business challenges and achieve high-impact results.
Digital will become the new normal
New technological advances in the workplace are transforming organizations in terms of their systems, processes, and people. With the dawn of 2017, the digital age has arrived and organizations are now working to develop strategies to keep pace with the evolution of their industry. Every sector is under pressure to adopt automation and drive efficiency to remain competitive. However, success in the digital landscape will require a combination of many factors including innovative processes, engaged talent, and new business models. Unfortunately, while 90% of business leaders expect their industries to be disrupted by digital trends, only 44% think their businesses are adequately prepared for the changes ahead. In 2017, we can expect to see organizations scrambling to align the right people, in the right roles, with the right tools to reach digital maturity.
The New Year will bring new obstacles and challenges, while also presenting new opportunities and innovations. As industries and organizations continue to evolve, it is important to keep a strong focus on the foundation of the business, the people. By creating a best-in-class employee experience that retains employees, attracts top talent, and encourages collaboration and innovation, organizations will be able to prepare themselves for the shifting landscape ahead.