Workplace Trends You'll See In 2016

It's that time of year when predictions start coming in for what the New Year holds. When it comes to the workplace, Dan Schawbel from Workplace Trends has provided his workplace predictions for the Forbes website for the past three years; so, what does he think will be key issues in 2016?

1. Wider acceptance of boomerang employees

Boomerang employees are those who leave a company due to either personal matters or opportunity, only to return at a later date. A recent Workplace Trends study found that while 48% of firms used to have policies against the re-hiring of such staff, now more than three-quarters (76%) say they are more willing to do so. This trend is emerging due to lowering levels of employee loyalty, with professionals switching jobs more often than before.

2. Millennial managers

As more members of the Baby Boomer generation retire - more than 3.6 million are set to do so next year - millennials will enter senior positions in greater volumes, beginning to fill the existing leadership gap. In fact, in 2016 more than a quarter of millennial professionals are set to become managers; according to Workplace Trends' Millenial Leadership Survey, they will be 'transformational' rather than autocratic leaders, doing away with traditional hierarchies and driving companies to do something good for society, as well as make money.

3. Workplace flexibility becomes THE hot topic

Telecommuting, globalization, technology tools and co-working spaces are all on the rise, meaning that workplace flexibility will affect us all in some way next year. Heralding the beginning of the end for the 40 hour-week, some 64% of managers will expect their employees to be contactable in their personal time; this is likely to cause even more workers to feel burned out and unable to disconnect.

4. Wearable tech will cause real disruptions

Many companies still fail to take wearable technology seriously, but it's going to be a major disruptive force in the year ahead. The rising trend of wearables will be driven by Generation Z, who will really begin entering the workforce next year - according to one GlobalWebIndex study, 71% of 16-24 year olds want to adopt wearable tech.

Stay tuned for our next round of 2016 workplace trend predictions, based on Schawbel's suggestions.


What you need to know about the future of work

The Future of Work Community recently held a Future of Work Forum to help individuals recognize how the workplace is changing, what they can do to embrace these shifts and how they can evolve to stay relevant in the coming years.

The forum came up with a number of different things business owners need to keep in mind regarding the future of work:

1. People analytics will gain in prominence. Although it is a relatively untapped practice at the moment, the use of wearable technology is becoming more popular and will help to advance this - as will the gathering of employee-related big data and new inventions, like smart employee badges; as more insights become available, more organizations will adopt people analytics.

2. HR and IT will combine forces. In fact, both these departments are already starting to build stronger relationships than in the past as each realizes they cannot function properly without the other. Businesses need to understand that encouraging the two to work together will equate to better business outcomes in the future.

3. Employee/employer relations will never be the same again. The use of freelancers and the ability of employees to take on numerous roles within an organisation mean the relationship between the two will be drastically different - it has already evolved significantly within the last five-to-ten years.

4. Experience should be given priority. Business leaders need to ensure they create a working environment employees want to spend time in; they cannot assume that people need to show up at the office, for example - they need to actively make it the place to be.

5. A business needs to emulate a laboratory, not a factory. Organisations need to be experimental and test new ideas to further the business and maximize the experience of employees.

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Unleashing Human Potential and the Future of Work

Following from the recent 'Creating New Ways to Work' conference in New York, HR professional Lenny Sanicola recently offered his thoughts on the event and what key messages company leaders should take away from it.

Writing for the Huffington Post, Sanicola explains that the event, hosted by Virgin Pulse, included a range of discussions and presentations on how the workplace is evolving and how organizations should adapt their processes to meet these changes.

From workplace culture - which was noted to have a a profound impact on employee engagement and, as a result, overall business outcomes - to human behavior and alternatives to managing tasks, below are some of the most important takeaways. In the face of increasing technologies and automation, companies need to put the human element back into the workplace. They must create meaningful work within a human environment, promoting respect, purpose and equality - all of which start with strong leadership. Employers must focus on holistic wellbeing strategies, taking into account staff's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. This will enable them to be more efficient at their jobs, and more engaged. Bosses should encourage growth and help individual team members to progress their skills and abilities. They should provide the necessary tools to make this possible, and offer incentives for success along the way. Alongside growth, allowing workers to have a genuine work/life balance will be crucial to both the attraction and retainment of talent. Organizations will have to be ready to adapt as workplace processes continue to change and technology plays an even greater role in everyday working life. They must think beyond traditional hierarchies and management models, finding ways for employees to manage themselves. Finally, Richard Branson brought home the message that employees are the secret to any business's success, and should be treated that way. Appearing in a video call, he told delegates: "If you can put your staff first, your customers second, and your shareholders third, effectively in the end the shareholders will do well, the customers do better, and your staff will be happy."